IRONMAN competitions have grown to be incredibly popular over almost 40 years, despite the massive physical and mental challenges involved in competing. Team Talented, which has been closely involved with the organisers for many years, has recently turned to LiveU to significantly enhance and extend its coverage from European events. These include IRONMAN Klagenfurt-Austria, IRONMAN 70.3 Zell am See-Kaprun, IRONMAN Maastricht-Limburg and IRONMAN 70.3 Cascais-Portugal.
IRONMAN events, one of the most popular endurance sports, are in essence extended triathlons, involving swimming, cycling and running: 3.8 km swim, 180 km ride and a marathon 42.2 km. Athletes are pushed to their limits and given the nature of the events and the terrains involved, providing coverage has always proved very challenging, either in terms of sheer cost or having to use equipment that’s not really suitable for the task at hand.
Using unbonded solutions over 3G/4G networks proved too unreliable. Claudio Schütz, Head of Team Talented, said, “While on the running courses, often in town centres, this was okay but on the bike course, due to high-speed handover between cellular cells and the overall poor coverage, it wasn’t good. Traditional broadcast technology and infrastructure was far too expensive for us. Because of my work with Austrian national public broadcaster ORF, I became aware of LiveU, which is really the industry standard for cellular bonding. ETAS, LiveU’s partner in the country, worked with us to meet our needs during the events.”
As well as providing coverage of the races themselves using LiveU’s technology and three/four camera operators, Team Talented also integrate user-generated content with their streaming footage and work with the organisers to create and cover post-race parties. Additionally, they provide the live commentary, announcers onsite, live streaming from press conferences and social media clips to create a complete 360-degree view of the event.
“The logistics are of course very complicated and challenging so our experience is vital,” said Schütz, adding, “For the race alone we have to fully understand the layout of the course, how we can follow the cycling when riders can be doing 55 km/h along very narrow roads! LiveU Central management platform is essential. It means that I can manage the units remotely while our camera operators are braving wind, rain and sun from the back of a motorbike. It’s impossible for them to operate the units so I use LiveU Central to change the delay time, restart modems if needed and switch between live and ‘store and forward’ modes. LiveU technology provides great performance, is easy to use all while still being affordable.”
Ronen Artman, VP of Marketing with LiveU, said, “It is fascinating to see how the world of sports coverage is changing and growing as people come to understand the power and flexibility of our technology. There are many companies and sports organisations for whom traditional broadcast technologies are far too expensive and cumbersome, while low-end technologies that don’t use cellular bonding are simply not good enough. It’s exciting to see the effect that our technology is helping to enable.”