Satcoms are enabling smaller football clubs in Italy to broadcast their matches in high quality from 60 stadiums, via the Internet.
With ESA’s support, a consortium has developed and tested an Internet service that relies on satellites.
Whereas premier stadiums can afford professional filming services and dedicated satcom bandwidth, stadiums in the lower leagues do not have a large enough audience to justify the costs.
New satellite systems making use of Ka-band turn out to be cheaper, more reliable, offer greater capacity and are more flexible than the terrestrial option.
The matches are distributed to audiences through a web-streaming portal so that a large number of users can access matches live over the Internet.
The cost is relatively low because all the service requires is two fixed stations per camera installed at the stadiums, units for processing the video signals, and facilities for two camera operators on site when required. Remotely controlled cameras can also be used.
Two antennas for each camera ensures there is always a reliable link, even in bad weather.
Using satellites to provide high-quality coverage creates an audience for minority sports, opening up a market.
To date, the technology has been installed in more than 60 small Lega Pro Football League stadiums around Italy and uses Eutelsat’s KaSat high-throughput satellite, with a potential audience of over 20 million in Italy and more than 200 million in Europe.
The service, available via the web channel Sportube, already has an enthusiastic following and entertained over 200 000 fans for one of the Lega Pro football games it broadcast on its first weekend. Games can be watched live or downloaded later.
The same technology has been used to stream volleyball, reaching more than 77 000 viewers for the quarter finals.
The Kabalist project is part of ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme. The consortium is led by DBW Communications, in cooperation with NITEL.