For some sports and entertainment venues, making the decision to upgrade from an RF cable TV (CATV)-based television system to an IPTV network might make all the sense in the world, whereas for others, it might seem like an unjustifiable move considering the cost and effort. We’ll outline here what is involved in making the transition to IPTV, highlighting the benefits of doing so and the unique requirements for getting it right.
The Game Experience
There is nothing like being at a game, especially when your team is winning. The goal for sports teams and venues is to create a truly memorable experience that fans cannot get sitting in their living rooms watching on TV. Such an experience comes not only from great competition on the field, but also from great game presentation. Game presentation is the art of creating a unique visual and auditory experience that supports and enhances the game itself. Effective game presentation uses all the resources at the venue’s disposal to deliver a one-of-a-kind fan experience and drive revenue opportunities.
Game presentation has focused primarily on the in-bowl experience (the experience people have while sitting in their seats in the arena, as opposed to at home), which in recent years has meant a tremendous increase in the quantity and size of LED video scoreboard displays in both professional and collegiate sports venues. Those resources (the displays) are certainly important to making the in-bowl experience more appealing than ever before.
What about the rest of the venue?
To maximize fan experience and revenues, teams are extending the game presentation beyond the bowl, engaging fans with service and technology throughout the venue. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to use one of a venue’s greatest assets: its TVs.
The Television Experience
By and large, the most common infrastructure for delivering television content within a public sports venue is a traditional CATV system, which relies on coaxial cable distributed to TV locations throughout the venue. In addition to offering a standard lineup of cable TV channels, venues can also use CATV to create or “modulate” one or more of their own internal channels to provide “closed-circuit,” low-delay content, such as the scoreboard program or game broadcast feeds from the truck. This model has successfully provided a basic television viewing experience in venues for decades.
However, with the advent of digital and HD television, the home-television experience has changed dramatically. Advanced features like an interactive programming guide, picture-in-picture, DVR and video-on-demand are available to fans at home; all they need is a set-top box supplied by the service provider for each TV.