NBC has owned the American rights to broadcast the Winter Olympics since 2002, delivering coverage of sporting events and medal ceremonies across the United States via cable television and online. From February 7 to 23, NBC Sports Group, renowned for its unsurpassed award-winning Olympic production, presented the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia.
The Winter Olympics featured live coverage of 98 events in 15 Olympic sports. While covering events in multiple venues, NBC Sports Group needed to deliver video files digitally over a global 2Gbps link to its headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, to facilitate remote editing. In addition, archived footage had to be moved from Stamford back to Sochi, as required for editorial purposes. Timely delivery of this content was critical to the production workflow.
Aside from the high-speed transfer of digital content, NBC Sports Group also required a solution that ensured the reliability and security of all file transfers. Effectively sharing files during the games was imperative, as NBC Sports Group required a solution that could execute concurrent transfers of large, dynamic file sets, sending up to 100 videos at once. Finally, the ability to deal with files as they are being encoded or dynamically changing, particularly MXF files, was critical.
To accelerate global and regional content delivery and meet the other specified objectives, NBC Sports Group selected the FileCatalyst accelerated and managed file transfer platform. From the opening to closing ceremonies, FileCatalyst technology ensured reliable and secure transfers of all event coverage. In particular, the platform’s ability to deal with extreme concurrency and seamlessly handle the challenges of transferring dynamic video files was leveraged.
Throughout the second half of 2013 and leading up to the games in Sochi, FileCatalyst worked hand in hand with NBC Sports Group to ensure the software was up to the task. Features were developed to handle the unique challenges, such as handling MXF files that were growing and changing while being encoded. The solution was also optimized to handle up to 80 growing MXF proxy videos, and deliver them in real time. The scalability of the solution also allowed it to concurrently handle up to 20 hi-res MXF video file transfers, maximizing the link capacity.
NBC Sports Group chose FileCatalyst to accelerate the transfer of digital content for the 2014 Winter Olympics. FileCatalyst enabled NBC Sports Group to break new ground in live sports production by enabling real time transfer of event footage, handling very high concurrency, and overcoming the problem of transferring dynamically changing MXF files.
“FileCatalyst allowed NBC Olympics to fully utilize its link speed for the transfer of the 2014 Winter Olympics digital content and helped us deliver more excitement to the viewers that watched the Games on the networks of NBCUniversal.”