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Chelsea TV enhances in-stadium and at home fan engagement with an EVS production infrastructure

CUSTOMER PROFILE

Chelsea TV is the dedicated TV channel of London-based English Premier League football club Chelsea FC. Launched in 2001, the channel was first introduced on Sky television in the UK and is now available via television service providers around the world and online. Offering exclusive and in-depth content about Chelsea FC, fans tune in for greater insight into their favorite team and players.

THE CHALLENGE

As one of the most popular Premier League teams, Chelsea FC has fans all around the world. To engage them, Chelsea TV broadcasts delayed match coverage that’s enriched with Chelsea’s own graphics and commentary. Clips of multi-angle replays and highlights are also produced from these live feeds and used in Chelsea TV’s programming which includes post-match highlights, news segments and magazine shows.

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At the same time, when matches are played at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea TV needs to be able to deliver infotainment content to the two in-stadium big screens. This content is managed completely separately from the broadcast feeds and includes replays, highlights and promotional material. 

In order to continue to produce and deliver all of this content in the highest quality, in a fast and efficient way, Chelsea TV wanted to upgrade its production workflow. And to drive this new infrastructure, it needed more storage, more channel density and more input/output flexibility than its existing EVS XT2 live production server provided. 

THE SOLUTION

To manage all the functionality needed by the Chelsea TV production crews, the channel has upgraded its XT2 live production server to a new XT3 server in the ChannelMAX configuration with an LSM remote control panel. It installed these solutions in the TV galleries at Stamford Bridge as well as an IPDirector content management system and LSM Connect interface which its in-house production crews use to create and manage all channel and in-stadium content. Having its own in-house production crew means Chelsea TV is able to produce more club-centric replays and highlights, delivering a more personal experience for fans watching than external crews would.

Chelsea TV uses live feeds recorded from on-location OB facilities for all of its production operations and the EVS XT3 ChannelMAX live production server is used by the club to ingest these, a process that’s managed by IPDirector. The flexibility that’s built into EVS technology means Chelsea TV is then able to use its live tools in a number of ways – for the production of held-back match coverage, additional programming on the channel and for the in-stadium entertainment.

Fast-turnaround match coverage

Once ingested by the XT3, IPDirector controls the feeds and makes them available on Chelsea TV’s EditShare Ark nearline storage. Here it’s easily accessible to the channel’s production crew who add Chelsea TV’s own graphics and commentary. After a hold-back time agreed with broadcasters, Chelsea TV plays the match coverage out using its XT3 ChannelMAX server.

With just a few hours to turn content around, having the industry’s fastest live production server and using IPDirector to control live feeds, means Chelsea TV has the infrastructure it needs to enable a fast-turnaround creation of its match content in a high-speed scenario. 

Enriched additional programming

EVS’ LSM is the industry-standard remote control panel that’s used with the XT series servers for live content editing. It’s used by Chelsea TV to create content for the additional programming broadcast on the Chelsea TV channel between matches.

The LSM remote lets production crews create club-centric video clips and slow motion replay content which they manage using the EVS LSM Connect interface. This also allows operators to quickly generate playlists of the clips created with the LSM and to rename, reorder and attach metadata to them. These clip playlists are edited using Avid Media Composer suites to create content packages and played out as additional programming. IPDirector manages the play out of this content through the XT3.

Matchday infotainment

During matches, Chelsea TV uses the two giant screens inside Stamford Bridge to engage with fans by delivering in-stadium live goal replays, promotions and other video content. As feeds are ingested by the XT3 ChannelMAX server the in-stadium production crews use the EVS live tools to produce and deliver this content. The LSM remote creates clips and slow motion replays from the live feeds and crews use LSM Connect to make and manage playlists of these clips.

IPDirector controls the playout of this content – as well as some pre-made promos – to the big screens via the XT3. Previously an additional server had to be hired in on matchdays to play this content but with the added flexibility and channel density of the XT3 ChannelMAX in the gallery, Chelsea TV can now play everything out using just one EVS server. 

RESULTS

The new XT3 server provided Chelsea TV with the extra storage space and speed it required to use the same production infrastructure to create and deliver content for both channel broadcasts and matchday infotainment.

The increased channel density offered by the server’s ChannelMAX configuration was particularly attractive to the club. Not only has it immediately extended its channel capacity but also allows for the further expansion of the number of channels through software updates if needed. With this ChannelMAX configuration in place, Chelsea TV’s two production galleries have been able to become more flexible and more efficient overall.

Ingesting live feeds using the XT3 ChannelMAX and managing content using IPDirector gives Chelsea TV production crews the ability to utilize content in multiple ways. Being able to use EVS’ live tools for both channel and infotainment playout means Chelsea TV’s operations can output content more cost-effectively. They don’t have to hire additional server facilities to accommodate the in-stadium playout.

Chelsea TV uses its production workflow on a daily basis to produce content for the channel. Installing these solutions into its infrastructure means it benefits from EVS’ signature reliability throughout its workflow for ingest, repurposing and editing of content as well as playout. Implementing EVS equipment in the Chelsea TV galleries gives the channel’s production crews peace of mind, knowing they’re working with the industry-standard technology for live sports production.