Motorsports are notoriously expensive sports to run. While many teams are funded by wealthy benefactors, their long-term viability is often dependent upon commercial revenues generated from sponsors and broadcasters.
For these sports to grow their commercial value, in the face of competing forms of sports and entertainment, it is imperative that you enable fans to get closer to the action. In this blog we explore the role of live streaming in delivering a better broadcast experience for fans and driving the commercial growth of motorsports at all levels.
All successful sports thrive on the stories which revolve around their heroes. In the case of motorsports, these are the drivers. However, unfortunately fans don’t get to see the emotion on the faces of drivers as they battle behind a helmet for supremacy on the track. This has historically placed motorsports at a disadvantage when it comes to storytelling.
In order to create live sports productions that engage existing fans and attract new fans, organizers also have to weigh up specific challenges relating to the format and location of races. For example, World Rally Championship (WRC) events can take place over hundreds of miles in very remote locations. By contrast some motorsport events take place in narrow city streets or in snaking race tracks with drivers hitting speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour (mph).
Prior to the advent of reliable IP transmission solutions, motorsport event organizers were using traditional satellite and fiber video distribution solutions. These solutions are often prohibitive from a cost perspective for most motorsport organizers or, at best, must be used sparingly. This, as well as their cumbersome nature, has held many organizers back in terms of the content that can be produced and distributed from the race location.
Remote and on-site video production using a cloud-based video streaming workflow can provide motorsports with a more flexible and cost-effective way to get more live content to fans. Today’s IP video transmission technology, which has been spearheaded by LiveU, provides motorsports organizers with these two crucial qualities (which traditional satellite and fiber solutions cannot) resulting in more streams from more races and more opportunities to engage fans and monetize. Equally, IP transmission ensures that organizers don’t have to worry about the critical “first mile” of delivery, from the race location to their cloud production platform or studio.
Innovations such as stats, graphics and on board cameras are helping to take motorsports broadcasts to new levels. However, due to the costs involved, these innovations have largely been restricted to top tier motorsports productions. This is now changing. LiveU has partnered with leading race car data experts to offer plug and play solutions for collecting, editing and distributing live videos, compiled with data-centric content for storytelling and enhanced viewer engagement.
While IP transmission has created a new world of possibilities for fan engagement and monetization, including from inside the car, the performance use cases that it can deliver are also compelling. Teams can monitor their car performance from the pit in real-time using LiveU’s technology. Technical issues can be spotted immediately so that the technical team is ready to fix the car, with the right parts and material, when the driver arrives at the pit stop.
WRC Promoter GmbH, the commercial arm of the WRC, wanted to expand their coverage without having to worry about access to certain parts of events or rely on motorcycles to deliver the additional footage to engage existing viewers and attract new audiences. LiveU helped WRC Promoter GmbH to implement a hybrid setup.
WRC Promoter GmbH has an OB truck on-site to create high grade broadcast content and there is also a dedicated on-site team who create exclusive content to distribute to fans via the WRC app. LiveU also helps WRC to send content from the field to their master control room (MCR) in London from where they create a highlight show at the end of every racing day. Both are made possible with no significant incremental costs. LiveU affords WRC Promoter GmbH far greater flexibility in terms of their live content offering as they can benefit from wireless video transmission to deliver live content from locations which were previously not possible.
For the 2022 season, Trans Am presented a new TV package to air all races in prime time on CBS Sports Network. With the aim of increasing exposure to this audience, Trans Am started looking for ways to improve the TV broadcast. One area they focused on was a better in-car camera experience.
Most of the cars were already outfitted with in-car camera systems but delivering these images to the viewing audience had been a challenge. Trans Am events are often held at racetracks with dips and hills that are in remote locations. Trans Am cars regularly exceed 150 mph on portions of these tracks adding complexity to the challenge of providing a high quality and resilient video transport solution.
LiveU has been used at 20+ races in 2022 during the 60-minute broadcasts. In addition to the initial airing, each episode re-airs on CBS Sports Network and is available on CBSSports.com and streaming service subscriptions. The enhancement to the live coverage has contributed to a significant increase in viewership and sponsor revenue.
British Speedway’s top league (of three) benefits from very good coverage by Eurosport and Discovery+ and while the broadcaster also has the rights for the lower tier leagues, specialist Speedway production company, ExStream saw an opportunity to provide more live coverage of these lower tier events.
ExStream looked at how best to cover races around the UK with wildly varying parameters in terms of live streaming. The company developed its technical setup using multiple cameras on-site fed into a vision mixer and then streamed live via a CDN. Trying to keep equipment costs to a minimum, ExStream started with a low grade IP solution and experienced many drops in image quality to an unacceptable level, especially given that they are running a subscription service.
This is where LiveU stepped in to deliver fully reliable IP video transmission which now enables the ExStream team to focus on creating better content to keep their subscribers happy.
Motorsport is not without its challenges when it comes to delivering live productions to ensure fans, both old and new, can feel close to the action. The extreme conditions and complex locations have often worked against the sport.
Fortunately for motorsports, and in particular, second and third tier events whose budgets are more restricted, IP video transmission and cloud production technologies have developed to an extent that they are now fully reliable, highly flexible and extremely cost-effective.
LiveU continues to innovate to help you bring your motorsports event to a new generation of fans.
LiveU delivers a wide range of solutions accommodating different needs and budgets.
Go live from the track to bring the speed and exhilaration of motorsport to fans around the world. LiveU’s portable 5G 4K 10-bit HDR units enable you to cover every angle, from inside and outside the car, helicopters and drones. Choose the solution to meet your needs, from our compact LU300S unit for live coverage inside the car, to our LU800 multi-cam production-level field units around the track.
Share your feeds globally and expand your viewership and reach with the LiveU Matrix next-gen cloud video service. LiveU Matrix allows you to share high-quality, low-latency live feeds from the track with broadcasters and other stakeholders around the globe.