Since the advent of television, sports content production and management has primarily been the concern of major broadcasters. Yet in recent years, non-attending fans’ viewing habits have shifted from the small screens of their living rooms to the always-on, ever-connected culture of multiple mobile devices. In fact, fans are often viewing both at the same time!

The proliferation of social media and streaming platforms has completely changed how sports fans interact with the leagues they follow and the teams they support. Discussions of last night’s game are no longer confined to the office water cooler. Fan engagement has become big business in its own right, with dedicated supporters hungry to consume on and off-field content around the clock.

Direct-to-consumer video and over-the-top (OTT) media services are helping to unlock substantial revenue streams and open up new markets around the world. At the same time, TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are making fans more accustomed to consuming bite-sized content. A recent survey by Deloitte claimed that the future of sports fandom could hinge on captivating Gen Z and Gen Alpha fans with personalized and interconnected digital experiences. These factors have made fast-paced content production integral to the success – and the bottom line – of sports organizations of all types.

For teams, and the leagues and federations they compete in, the creation of an efficient media workflow can mean the difference between a winning content strategy and the scoring of an own goal. Putting tenuous sports puns aside for one moment, teams, leagues, and federations have joined broadcasters in the need for robust, production-connected media asset management (MAM), distribution, and monetization systems that streamline and accelerate the game-to-fans content workflow.

With 2024’s sporting calendar packed to the brim, including the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Paris (practically next door to Dalet HQ), how are sports organizations leveraging MAM solutions to accelerate their media workflows?

Ready, Set, Go: The End-to-End Sports Production Workflow

Before we start, let’s define the end-to-end sports production workflow. In essence, this covers everything from multistream ingest, transcoding, and content enrichment, all the way through to distribution, archive, and monetization.

For sports organizations that need to move fast, getting media into the production system at speed helps to accelerate all workflows.

While speed is paramount, quality is also key in delivering captivating experiences for fans. Solutions that enable the capture of rich content, that can then be transcoded, cut and distributed to multiple channels easily, are highly sought after.

The most savvy teams and organizations are focused on making processes faster and breaking down physical barriers for field teams. They are looking for remote and collaborative services to help ensure a flow of content from multiple sources and contributors without complexity. In addition, they need back-office processes that can automate useful metadata creation, packaging, and delivery to all digital outlets, at scale.

To help streamline processes, many sports organizations are looking to cloud-native MAM solutions with production capabilities, such as Dalet Flex. As we know, MAM and PAM solutions are converging to help deliver seamless media workflows. But which features specifically benefit sports firms and help to accelerate sports production workflows?

Live Elastic Ingest: Faster Content, From Kick-off

When it comes to live sports, capturing every moment from every angle is crucial. For a lot of organizations, matchday content is sourced from multiple sources and locations. This might include different camera crews, field journalists, partners, producers, and fans.

With so much live video to capture, it’s important to handle the volume and variety of sources, all while bringing in content with the rich metadata required to keep your library organized and efficient. This saves time and effort later down the line.

At Dalet, we developed Dalet InStream for this exact purpose. Dalet InStream seamlessly manages multicam, multifeed ingest to the cloud, as the action unfolds. This is a real time-saver, allowing editors to start working on live feeds while they’re still growing, producing edited clips in real time.

Dalet InStream’s flexibility and scalability is a major advantage. It can handle as many channels as required on a game day. With multiple feeds available — with or without graphics and various commentaries — every aspect of the live broadcast is captured and ready for the highlight reel. Channels can subsequently scale down to zero when there’s no action. This ensures no resources are wasted on off days.

One of London’s biggest soccer teams, Arsenal, uses Dalet Flex to offer their fans service well beyond the live match experience. Our custom solution delivers frictionless ingesting, processing, reviews and approvals, before content is seamlessly delivered to the club’s viewers via in-app highlights and social media.

“Video is critical to football. It’s all about the match, and specifically, it’s all about the highlights. They want to show their mates in the pub, see it on their mobile, watch it at home or on their desk at work.”

– John Dollin, Senior Product and Engineering Manager, Arsenal Football Club

Discover how Arsenal Football Club leverages Dalet’s solutions to connect with fans around the world across platforms.

Cloud and On-premises: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

A lot of sports organizations require hybrid MAM solutions, particularly when niche technical equipment and high-res video formats combine with legacy systems. Take the case of Monumental Sports & Entertainment in Washington. The company owns and operates the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards of the NBA and WNBA’s Washington Mystics team, amongst others.

The group needed a solution for its new full SMPTE 2110 broadcast facility which was a format that the legacy system was unable to ingest. Our on-premises ingest solution, Dalet Brio, was the answer. Dalet Brio is perfect for SDI and IP high-res formats like 4K and HDR, ensuring top-tier content capture.

Dalet InStream and Brio can be used in tandem to cover both cloud and on-premises ingest needs in a way that is both connected and centralized.

Chop and Change With Advanced Editing Capabilities

Editing could be described as the star playmaker in the sports production workflow, connecting content ingest, transcoding, and tagging with distribution and monetization.

For digital and social media professionals, editing functions that sit within production-connected MAM systems, such as Dalet Cut, are making it easy to engage fans with real-time highlights and key moments. Editorial teams are rapidly creating highlights from live streams or existing content inventory. These can be quickly published to all digital platforms at the touch of a button.

Production-connected systems also provide easy access to broadcast footage and archive clips for traditional broadcast and replay purposes. Tools, such as Dalet Xtend, seamlessly connect MAM systems with creative applications like Adobe Premiere Pro, making the creation of highlights and edited packages for live coverage far easier.

Editing tools are also having an impact away from back-office functions, affecting play closer to the pitch. With lightweight, web-based editors, coaching staff are whipping up highlight reels and tactical clips for halftime reviews and post-game analysis in record time. This is giving forward-thinking teams a competitive edge.

Produce faster with Dalet

Transcoding At Speed For Pitch Perfect Distribution

Transcoding is the process of converting a video file from one format to another, making it compatible with various devices and platforms. This is an important part of the sports content production workflow, particularly when content needs to be adapted for broadcast, streaming, and social media clips simultaneously.

Standards conversions are very important in sports as well, particularly for frame rates and HDR. If a broadcast is shot in 60fps HDR, it may need to be converted to 30fps SDR for social media, or converted to 50fps for international distribution.

Once live content has been ingested, transcoding ensures it will look great on any device, from the biggest screens to the smallest.

Dalet Flex efficiently manages distribution to transcoders and encoders, ensuring high-quality content for fans, whether they’re watching on a smartphone, tablet, or TV. However, with Dalet InStream, producers can record both broadcast quality and proxy files at the same time, removing the need for time-consuming transcoding. This is a game changer for workflow acceleration.

Speed is important but so too is quality. Another of our proprietary solutions, Dalet AmberFin, has its own transcode engine that can be deployed on premises, in the cloud (or both) to deliver consistent high quality results. The scalability of the cloud allows users to ramp up their transcoding operation on game day and scale back down when it’s not in use.

Content Enrichment Through AI-Powered Metadata

Metadata creation is the unsung hero of efficient media management. More and more MAM solutions are using AI to supercharge the process. Sports organizations are capitalizing on these advancements.

In addition to typical content tagging for efficient retrieval later down the line, teams, and leagues are further enriching their sports content metadata through external match data providers and AI sources. With Dalet Flex, sports feeds from providers like Opta and Sports Radar can be integrated to enable a real-time data layer for key metrics like goals and possession stats. Our AI integrations take this further, enhancing content with even more metadata such as face, logo, and voice recognition. This allows users to find the exact moment they are looking for, with all elements in frame.

From here, all of this advanced metadata can be used to curate your edit bin, auto-generate highlights, and generate speech-to-text transcriptions, saving valuable time and money.

The End Goal: Distribution and Monetization

Getting content out to the right platforms is crucial to maximizing its value. Digital content has become a major revenue generator for the biggest teams in sports. Back to the world of soccer, the Financial Times reports that Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona collectively garnered over 2.9 billion Instagram engagements in 2023, while Manchester City was able to grow its new WhatsApp channel to over 254 million members. Video content posted to this channel is now a major driver of traffic to the club’s £5/month streaming subscription service, City+.

Advanced production-connected MAM systems streamline distribution to archive and monetization platforms, ensuring content can start generating engagement and revenue quickly and efficiently. A great example of this workflow in real life is the partnership of Dalet and Veritone and the integration of Dalet Flex and Veritone’s AI-powered Digital Media Hub.

On the leagues and federations side of things, having sophisticated control over content rights is imperative. Organizations are utilizing MAM solutions to make sure users and partners can view or edit only the information that is relevant to them. Other use cases for this functionality includes presenting a subset of metadata to referees, coaching staff, production teams, league clubs, and OTT fans.

At Dalet, we help a leading international sports broadcaster deliver live football highlights within minutes to dozens of licensees worldwide. Using workflow automation within Dalet Flex, a complex process is simplified and streamlined to ensure service-level agreements are met, expanding the broadcaster’s revenue options.

Dalet and Veritone recently tackled the subject in the comprehensive webinar and Q&A, ‘Score Big: Unlocking the Power of Sports Media for Fan Engagement & Revenue Boosts’ which is available for you to take a shot at on-demand now!

Ready to Accelerate Your Sports Production Workflow?

With video content only becoming more powerful, more and more sports organizations are exploring the benefits of production-connected MAM solutions to their media production workflows. Here at Dalet, we’re leveraging Dalet Flex to increase agility, generate efficiency, and maximize content value for major sports-affiliated companies across the globe.

At the heart of Dalet Flex’s media workflow is its automated workflow engine. This powerful tool automates the entire production process, from ingest and editing to metadata enrichment and distribution. By streamlining these workflows, we ensure that sports content moves smoothly through the production pipeline, reducing time-to-air while enhancing overall efficiency.

If you think your team, league, federation or broadcaster could benefit from our production-connected MAM solutions for sports, get in touch with a Dalet representative today.

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Featured in: advanced editing | AI | cloud media workflows | content creation | Content Distribution | Content Monetization | Elastic Ingest | Media Asset Management | Metadata | News Production | Production-Connected Media Asset Management | Sport production | Sport production workflows | Streaming | Video Transcoding |

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By Aaron Kroger

Aaron is the product marketing lead for Dalet, a leading technology and service provider for media-rich organizations. Aaron is spearheading go-to-market initiatives around cloud-native media supply chain and production workflows, revolutionizing enterprise media operations worldwide.

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