Delivering live sports and events through the cloud

For global sports broadcasters and rights holders, getting their live events in front of the biggest audiences is the whole ball game

This article looks at how, by taking advantage of Arqiva’s new Virtual Connect service, sports rights holders, governing bodies, broadcasters and content owners can (and are) taking full advantage of the flexibility, reach and scale offered by the cloud.

For global sports broadcasters and rights holders, getting their live events in front of the biggest audiences is the whole ball game. Which is why the cloud is so attractive – particularly when delivering content over the top (without the need for cable or satellite connections) to smart TVs, streaming sticks, smartphones, consoles and more.

Not only can the cloud provide increased flexibility and cost- effectiveness here, it also offers the ability to integrate with a vast community of cloud-native platforms for a range of content processing, monetisation, analysis, production and publishing opportunities. However, this all needs to be harnessed in a reliable and scalable way, so that the premium value of live events are protected.

While this may sound complicated, the launch of Arqiva’s Virtual Connect changes this. A cost-effective bridge between satellite and fibre to cloud solutions, whilst retaining the same stringent monitoring and service assurance of all Arqiva solutions, Virtual Connect provides a seamless link between Arqnet (Arqiva’s global fibre network) with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Similarly, with satellite currently the predominant method for primary contribution of sports and entertainment events, Arqiva can use its extensive network of teleports to pick events from satellite and push them to AWS via Virtual Connect. The content can then be processed and distributed to platforms across the world – without any impact on quality or speed.

When live content is available at London’s BT Tower – the world’s largest video switch – it can be received via dedicated occasional use lines before being processed and transported via Virtual Connect into AWS for onwards delivery.

The Virtual Connect presence in AWS can also act as an inbound gateway for live events. If a studio production facility or outside broadcast truck has internet access, then IP encoders can be used to deliver content as Zixi or RIST flows into the Virtual Connect platform. From there it can be distributed directly from AWS or transferred to Arqnet and delivered to the numerous broadcasters with whom Arqiva is integrated, including the BT Tower community.

The services are scheduled and monitored from Arqiva’s 24/7 Event Bookings Team and Master Control Room (MCR), and the infrastructure supports multiple flows in either direction across multi-gigabit Direct Connects.

In short, everything is secure, resilient and delivered to the highest service levels.

For more information about Virtual Connect for live events contact our sales team at, +44 (0)1962 823 434