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    Games of a new era: Observability takes live sports to the next level

    By Jason Leonidas, Vice President of South Pacific region at New Relic

    Live sports are a global phenomenon, bringing fans together to witness moments of awe-inspiring skill and heart-stopping suspense. The surge in demand for live sports coverage during major events is undeniable, and broadcasters must ensure they are prepared to meet this demand.

    Looking to the 2024 Paris Olympics, new innovations and technologies have set the stage for the most immersive games in Olympic history, which will redefine how viewers experience this global event. Imagine the agony of missing a game-winning shot because your streaming service falters, or the action on the field being eclipsed by buffering screens and frozen replays.

    In this era of technology-driven experiences, observability stands out as the game-changer that can elevate the viewing experience and take live sports to the next level.

    Observability for the win

    Observability provides a granular view into the entire technology stack and the ability to gain insights into its performance and health. It encompasses monitoring, tracking, and analysing various components such as servers, networks, applications, and user experiences in real-time.

    A robust observability platform allows broadcasters to anticipate these surges in demand by analysing historical data and sporting event schedules, and proactively scaling resources accordingly. This approach ensures smooth streaming, even during peak viewership times; allowing fans to witness every nail-biting moment.

    With the nation’s passion for live sports far from abating, having a strong observability platform is not just an advantage – it’s a necessity. Paris 2024 is expected to produce over 11,000+ hours of broadcast coverage available over the 17 days of the games. Observability enables broadcasters through their digital platforms to put those 11,000+ hours of sports online and meet the viewing demand of a wide range of sports.

    This presents a huge opportunity for broadcasters to capitalise on this content as much as possible over these 17 days and reach a wide spectrum of sporting fans.

    Scaling to stream billions of minutes of live sporting events

    It is paramount for media and entertainment platforms to deliver an engaging and uninterrupted user experience for every single viewer across every device – laptop, smart TV, mobile phone, or tablet. Even a second of delay or unavailability can lead to poor reviews, high dropout rates, and loss of a significant portion of subscribers, which ultimately impacts revenue and profitability.

    A record-breaking win for live streaming

    In August last year, Seven’s coverage of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was hailed as the biggest broadcast and digital viewing event in Australian history with 18.6 million Australians watching the tournament. 14.76 million of these viewers were reached on broadcast TV and 3.82 million on 7plus.

    The Matilda’s semi final match against England on 16 August was the most watched TV program in more than two decades with an average audience of 7.2 million people. It was also the most streamed Australian event ever, reaching a record 957,000 viewers on 7plus.

    When it comes to scaling for these record breaking events, observability provides crucial insight and visibility into the pain points impacting the teams behind the scenes. It creates visibility into the entire system in one place and delivers an excellent customer experience.

    Another example is Australia’s most diverse multi platform broadcaster SBS, which reaches more than 10 million Australians each month across its television network. SBS was the exclusive broadcaster of all 64 matches of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Australia, live and free-to-air. This included a total of 500 hours of content. More than 800,000 people signed up to the broadcaster’s SBS On Demand platform to stream matches, highlights, analysis and commentary.

    To prepare for this high-demand, high-traffic event, SBS needed to maximise the uptime and availability of its video streams and have full visibility of application performance, monitor the number of users accessing its platform, and determine which medium they were using to access the content. The team knew the stakes were high.

    “We were acutely aware that any major outage or a failure during a match could impact our credibility as a broadcaster,” said Jeremy Kelaher, architecture and support manager, enterprise digital services at SBS. “This made it critical for us to invest in systems which could help us to identify and mitigate any anomalies before they occurred.” 

    As Australian broadcasters gear up for a massive year of live sports ahead, investing in observability is not just a strategic move; it’s a commitment to delivering a world-class live sports experience.

    Broadcasters should consider a proactive observability tool that offers real-time insights, predictive analytics, and proactive issue resolution capabilities, so they can identify potential bottlenecks well before they become a problem.

    The next time you tune in to that must-watch match, remember – behind the scenes, observability is working tirelessly to keep the game on, allowing you to experience the full spectrum of emotions live – the joy of victory, the agony of defeat, and everything in between.

    See also: ‘Biggest undertaking in the history of Nine’: Nine’s Paris Olympics plans, 100 days out

    The post Games of a new era: Observability takes live sports to the next level appeared first on Mediaweek.

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