United World Wrestling (UWW) is the international governing body for the sport of amateur wrestling. Based in Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland, its duties include overseeing wrestling at the Olympic Games.
UWW presides over international competitions for various forms of wrestling including Greco-Roman, Freestyle and Grappling, for men and women. UWW is governed by a congress made up of representatives from 176 national wrestling confederations.
For a number of years United World Wrestling TV has produced and delivered coverage of its major events via satellite to rights holders, including broadcasters in Iran, Japan, Turkey, Russia and the United States. UWW TV collaborates with production company Hit The Roof on host coverage, typically bringing a small UWW crew to site for its big events around the world.
In 2021, Head of UWW TV Dominique Curchod and UWW Digital Project Manager Florian Bakour initiated a digital transformation plan for its audiovisual production, management and distribution operation.
A key part of the challenge was the digitization of UWW TV archives. For many years, productions were recorded and stored on a combination of hard drives and videotape. This meant that footage was only available for in-house or third party access at the end of a wrestling competition.
It was therefore impossible for the team to fulfil archive access requests from rights holders at short notice, and it required a team of operators to do this job manually when customer requests were received.
UWW TV needed a fast and flexible way to share live content with rights holders across different formats. Live ingest and fast access would also open up the possibility of having crew members working remotely from an event, with video editors enabled to tailor dynamic content for highlights packages and clips on social media.
Another focus for the UWW Communication and Marketing department is sport presentation in the venue, which has become an important feature in wrestling competitions in recent years, with the team working hard to deliver compelling video content to LED screens in venues. Presentation content needs to attract wrestling fans before and during matches, and the workflow needs to be effective match after match across major UWW competitions.
Provide fast access across different formats for UWW rights holders
Create remote production flexibility with metadata tagging at speed
Rapid access to content in order to create highlights on social media
Enable production of compelling highlight content to LED screens for live presentation
Realize a central repository to quickly access content with archive monetization potential
“The workflow needs to be effective match after match, event after event. EVS MediaHub has enabled the team to quickly create and deliver attractive content to the main screen.”
EVS Mediahub is a cloud-based platform that maximizes the reach of live events by publishing and distributing nonlinear, live and near-live content with rights holders online. In addition, it offers a suite of media functions to meet the production requirements of digital and broadcast rights holders worldwide.
With this solution EVS supports content owners in virtualizing the physical infrastructure of an IBC and monetizing their content, while preserving the quality, reliability and usability of onsite deployments. At the same time, the MediaHub SaaS content exchange platform ensures that content takers and rights holders become more effective and efficient in their remote production workflows.
“We first talked about EVS MediaHub in December 2021,” said Bakour. “We used it for the very first time at the European Championships in Budapest in March 2022 – and the event was a success. The training and support provided by EVS was really great and highly appreciated.”
MediaHub was subsequently used by UWW TV and the UWW media team throughout 2022 to produce, manage and distribute content live via internet through its cloud platform across Senior World Championships, Senior European, Senior Asian, and three World Cups.
The team moved on to the 2022 Asian Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in April. “This was definitely more difficult because of internet connection challenges,” said Bakour, “but we were still successful because of MediaHub.”
There followed the World Championships in Belgrade in September; Greco-Roman World Cup in Baku in November; and Freestyle & Women’s World Cup in Iowa in the United States in December 2022. Now, for the first time across events, the team could share live and near-live content with rights holders. The EVS platform also enables video editors to work remotely to produce highlight content.
Live ingest in broadcast quality is a breakthrough for UWW TV production team
Live and near-live capabilities of MediaHub allow fast turnaround for content editing during events
Storage is linked to a metadata system, allowing users to quickly find a match from the archives
Live access to spectacular wrestling moves in slow motion releases valuable content
More content, more countries covered, and monetization opportunities enhanced
“Wrestling is an explosive sport that needs to be highlighted and enhanced through the sport presentation. The UWW team is counting on EVS to help us reach new goals and standards in the future.”
An important enabler for UWW TV in adopting EVS MediaHub is its ability to add metadata and tags to video content. Now, material can be recorded on MediaHub and quickly located and shared with rights holders, or available in the archive once an event is finished.
“In the past if a broadcaster wanted to use 15 seconds from the archive we had to hire people to manually check hard drives and watch hours of video and then edit that video, because nothing was tagged and nothing was cut,” said Bakour. “Now we just go on MediaHub and can quickly and easily find a competition or a final or key moment and it’s so, so easy.”
The UWW TV team can now record live on the MediaHub platform and the footage is available near-live for everyone working both on-site and remotely. “Here we save time,” said Bakour. “Definitely the full week of production for a major event: we save one week.
“MediaHub allows us to share different video formats including MXF, supported by eight audio channels. We can also share in MP4 which gives us the ability to have a crew working remotely and exporting in this file format to social media. We have improved our workflow with EVS, that I would say was a weakness in the past. In 2022 we were more successful because of MediaHub, definitely.”
Bakour believes that the introduction of EVS MediaHub has had a positive impact on the wrestling federation and the UWW brand. “I think so, in two different ways. The first one is on-site with our sport presentation, because we are now able to use and quickly highlight the best moments of the competition on this digital support in the venue. So we are creating a new, attractive atmosphere in the sports hall because of MediaHub.
“The second way is on social media and the web site, because now having our editors gaining access to the best of the TV production live during an event, it’s such a great move for us as we can share the best moments and emotions of the event as soon as possible – emotions such as winning the final and the podium ceremonies. So yes, certainly: on-site for spectators, and also on social media for followers.”
UWW is now able to monetize TV production content with the highest quality available through the MediaHub secured cloud. Rights holders get access to the best content as soon as possible during an event – even remotely. Metadata and keywords are added enabling rights holders, for the first time, to filter, find and buy rights to use wrestling archives.
“In the past when rights holders wanted access to footage it was very complicated for us at United World Wrestling to share the requested sequences quickly,” concluded Bakour. “Now it’s so easy for us because we just create an account for them and give them the specific rights to watch plus the option to download in different formats. Our workflow has improved so much having EVS MediaHub.”