We are less than a week away from the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots squaring off in Super Bowl LI. It is hard not to get swept up in the excitement for the big game, even though for most of us here at Qumulo, our favorite team will be watching from home (our office is in Seattle, go Hawks!). Fortunately for us, advancements in media technology have some people claiming it is better to watch from home. And with ticket prices averaging around $2,500, they might have a point.
The case for staying home for the Super Bowl started in 1998, when Sportvision developed the now ubiquitous 1st & Ten system that displays the yellow first down line during games. In the last few years, Sportvision began placing a heightened emphasis on their data services, storing large amount of statistic and video data from games and selling that information for use in broadcasts. It was around this time that Sportvision started working with Qumulo. With a single game consuming two to three terabytes of storage, capacity management and cost quickly became a challenge. Speaking of the transition to Qumulo, Sportsvision’s IT Manager said, “one of our biggest issues was that a lot of data will go into centralized storage, which makes it difficult to determine an exact usage pattern. What really excited us about Qumulo is now we can quickly determine what to save and what can be archived”.
Taking advantage of Qumulo’s built-in real-time analytics, Sportvision was able to expand their sports statistics business with quick access to key metadata. Upon getting a request for a specific team or player, the Sportvision team could quickly identity and pull individual clips from multiple camera angles for viewing. And the demand for this kind of data is rising. During the recent AFC Championship game, in-game virtual graphics on the Skycam system were implemented for the first time, which allowed broadcasters to give fans in-depth visualizations at multiple angles.
Last October, it was announced that SMT, a sports data and on-screen graphic provider, would acquire Sportvision. Throughout the last football season, SMT worked closely with broadcasters on an ambitious plan to expand the tools available, resulting in twenty weeks of delivering additional features and functionality. The culmination of this work was SMT’s many innovative ways to integrate player and team data to last year’s Super Bowl broadcast. We can relate to this approach of product development, as we follow an agile method to development, coming out with new releases of Qumulo Core every two weeks.
That brings us back to Sunday’s big game. There will be 70 cameras used to capture the action, many of which will be 4K and even 8K (although the game will not be broadcast in 4K). In addition to that, a number of cameras that can capture 360-degree footage will be placed around the perimeter of the field. This will let producers position a “virtual” camera on the field, giving fans the players point of view. This technology will have to be used sparingly though, because each 30-second clip can reach a terabyte in size, and can take longer to get ready for broadcast.
For us, the key take-away from the new technology suite available for sports broadcast isn’t simply the abundance of new and more powerful cameras. It is the variance and volume of the data coming out of the Super Bowl. In addition to the incredible amount of video and image data, RFID chips will capture player movement data and attendees will stream multiple terabytes of data using the in-stadium WiFi. These complex and mixed workloads create new challenges, and in these cases more organizations are looking for new and innovative storage solutions.
Read the full case study or check out this webinar to learn more about how storage plays an integral role in innovation for sports media. And most importantly, enjoy the game this Sunday, regardless of who you are rooting for.