Arsenal FC transforms live video backhaul with AWS

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Since its founding in 1886, UK-based Football Club Arsenal has garnered an estimated fanbase of more than 100 million worldwide, and today, social media and digital video play a crucial role in engaging those followers. Video coverage of ‘friendlies’ matches, in particular, has become popular with their fans across the world. To complement its primary path for video backhaul for these productions, the club recently deployed AWS Elemental MediaConnect to live stream a match against the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer (MLS) team.

John Dollin, Senior Product and Engineering Manager, Arsenal F.C., shared, “70 percent of the Arsenal’s online audience originates from outside of the U.K., and they don’t always have access to matches, so it’s crucial that we develop programming for matches like the one against the Colorado Rapids that we can share with our broadcast rights holders and across our website, apps and social channels before, during and after the match to keep them up to speed.”

Arsenal’s partner, ‘The Switch,’ provided live stadium video contribution for the Arsenal vs. Colorado Rapids feed from Dick’s Sporting Goods (DSG) Park in Colorado to Emirates Stadium in London via a 15Mbit/s IP link. A new AWS Elemental Live encoder in Colorado was fed an identical video source for contribution to the cloud using the AWS Elemental MediaConnect video transfer service, enabling transatlantic backhaul via the AWS network at 40Mbit/s. Arsenal then decoded the IP-based feed in its London facility to HD-SDI baseband for onward production and local distribution to broadcast rights holders.

After a successful run for the Colorado Rapids match, Arsenal is exploring how it might expand its AWS-backed workflow to support weekly deliverables to exclusive rights holders. The club is also looking to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) as an archival and backup option to complement its on-premises workflows.

“We were impressed by how simple it was to set up and deploy a live video backhaul stream from the USA to London using AWS Elemental MediaConnect,” Dollin added. “The stream was as reliable as our primary fibre path, cost significantly less than fibre or satellite, and was better quality. We see significant potential in this workflow to ensure fans and commercial partners around the world can access our games and supporting content with greater flexibility and lower costs for us.”


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