Since 1932, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), which is the universal governing body for basketball, has coordinated basketball leagues and competitions all around the world.
The Tech Decision
FIBA is well known for taking innovative steps to further this spectacular sport and the way it is presented across the media to millions of people. It comes as no surprise that the federation embraced streaming video. FIBA made it compulsory for its member teams to transmit certain parts of international games (such as coach and player interviews, and peripheral actions) over the internet, allowing more fans to watch. AEK Basketball Club (AEK BC), one of Greece’s biggest teams, grabbed this opportunity readily.
Antonis Prentzas, who oversees the technologies used by AEK BC, says, “Anything that helps us communicate with our fans is a good thing. We operate in a fast-changing media environment. In sports, it gets even more complicated as we all consume and produce content about our favorite teams on multiple social media channels. The more material you put out there, the better it is for devoted fans to use in their everyday networking.”
During a regular basketball league season, that lasts from October to May, AEK BC is scheduled to play one or two games almost every week in the National League. In addition, the club participates in international FIBA matches, including the Basketball Champion League. AEK BC wanted to make the star of the game, coach, and other player interviews and press conferences from all games available to worldwide fans in real time, as well as highlights of the games soon after. The club decided to look out for a simple to use, reliable, and compact encoder that would allow them to stream live as well as record high quality content in any venue.
The Matrox Monarch HD, a small, easy-to-use, portable, H.264 hardware encoder scored high points as the streaming and recording tool of choice for AEK BC. Prentzas explains, “It is a deceptively simple machine that gives a very high-quality stream with very few steps. Connect the camera, switch on, and stream! Previously, we used another solution that needed many more steps (with more points of failure and issues). This created a tremendous amount of uncertainty, making it necessary to have the supplier on-call each time, and be present at the venue for setting up at least an hour ahead. Now, with the Monarch HD, we just turn up, plug in, press the button, and it takes care of everything for us!”
Prentzas continued, “AmyDV, our technology consultants, were a huge asset in helping to choose the right solution—Matrox Monarch HD—from the wide range of options available on the market. Whenever I needed something they were right beside me. It is a pleasure to work with them.”
Prior to each game, setting up is a cinch with Matrox Monarch HD. Since the simplified workflow provides AEK BC’s AV technologist with peace of mind, the club is a die-hard fan of the Monarch HD encoder now. Live streams are published to FIBA’s website with consummate ease for thousands of basketball fans to watch. Monarch HD also makes it easy to create highlights from various team events for AEK BC’s fans to view on demand. “One thing is for sure. Sports is a major part of many people’s lives, and it will continue to remain so. We constantly need to produce more content to meet the fans’ demands. There are many devices that claim to help with streaming and recording, but the simple solutions, such as Monarch HD, get the job done perfectly,” says Prentzas.