The past few years have been full of challenges. Industries, companies and families alike have stayed home and abandoned their activities in favor of public health and safety.
Which industry faced the most backlash? Because of its infamous fanbase, it's not surprising how quickly the sports industry comes to mind.
In 2020, stadiums closed internationally, forbidding fans to dress up and cheer on their favorite teams in-person. Both teams and their players were robbed of their usual amped up, roaring crowd. Even major events like March Madness were cancelled or rescheduled.
The way the sports industry produced its sporting events was already changing prior to 2020, but the pandemic certainly accelerated strategies like remote production and streaming.
Take a look at some of the most impactful trends in sports today, listed by Belden, Inc.:
- Transition from SDI to IP
- Shift to Remote and Cloud Production
- Increased Demands for Streaming
- Increased Viewing of Women’s Sports
IP technology is gaining adoption partly to support higher resolutions like 4K. The SMPTE 2110 standard is also driving acceleration by delivering unprecedented interoperability and providing a solid foundation to fast-track video over IP adoption.
IP brings flexibility and reduces bottlenecks and barriers that restrict content creation and distribution. In short, IP gets unique content out to fans faster.
Shift to Remote and Cloud Production
During the pandemic, the swift move to remote production was critical in keeping broadcasts going. What were once large onsite crews were reduced to mission-critical staff only.
Remote and cloud-based solutions allowed many broadcasters to continue producing and broadcasting live events while ensuring health and safety. These developments let production crews work from anywhere, improve flexibility and delivery, and enable each production component to occur in the cloud.
Remote and cloud production also added more network strain, requiring more feeds to be sent between venues, networks and production facilities. This has now translated to a greater need for increased network capacities and capabilities globally.
Increased Demands for Streaming
In case you missed it, Amazon now has exclusive rights to the Thursday Night Football package. The only way to watch these games moving forward will be to subscribe to Amazon Prime. This means that more fans will begin to watch sports on streaming platforms instead of traditional TV broadcasts. It also means that sports—and content in general—is becoming more monetized.
This shift will make connectivity even more crucial for fan engagement—inside and outside the stadium, as well as at home. Venues will need to be able to support this type of viewing and engagement with high-speed connections and high bandwidth levels so fans can have an optimal experience.
Increased Viewing of Women’s Sports
As the number of live events increases, we anticipate an increase in women’s sports coverage. This boost in broadcasting means there will be more content to share, more fans to please, more events to cover and more revenue to be had. As we have seen with the other trends identified, this rise in coverage will require venues and broadcast centers to have networks with strong, reliable, future-proof infrastructures.
How Belden Can Support
Belden offers cabling and connectivity solutions that support innovation in sports and entertainment venues, production trucks and broadcasters. Belden solutions extend beyond the production control room to support in-venue technology that’s important to fans and owners alike: automation, lighting, security, distributed antenna systems (DASs) and more.