RCS Technology Drives Graphics Production for First NFL Global Live Stream

By October 23, 2015

Burbank, Calif.October 23, 2015

Football fans around the world tuned into the first-ever free global live stream of an NFL game on Sunday. As the Buffalo Bills went head-to-head with the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, viewers with the Yahoo! app were able to watch the game on phones, tablets, computers and streaming devices. Though Yahoo! owned the rights to the stream, longtime RCS clients NFL and CBS were involved in the production and brought our team on board to ensure a smooth graphics workflow across facilities in London, Atlanta, Stamford and Culver City.

Almost every graphic featured in the live stream was developed by RCS and powered by RCS technology, including our Bullet mobile graphics workstations, which facilitated a whole suite of in-studio and remote graphics including topic bars, score bars, full screen graphics, lower third, side panels and more. Our main challenge was connecting all of the different systems and network protocols across facilities. Weeks prior to the event, RCS engineers in each location worked together to funnel the various systems through our technology and ensure graphics production would work from each location.

We began in London, by updating the CBS NFL football graphics build we’d created for Sunday broadcasts with Yahoo! branding. Two of our Bullet mobile workstations ran the graphics from London; we connected that feed directly to RCS ticker systems to render out the program feed in two NFL locations – a main master control in Atlanta and a backup facility in Stamford – in the case that Murphy’s law might rear its ugly head.

Our team in Atlanta manned the two remote ticker systems for both the domestic and international live streams. Connected to DataCenter, our data aggregator, the machines in Atlanta powered ticker content for the stream including everything from promos to game previews during pre-game coverage; real-time interface scores, fantasy game scores and upcoming games every ten minutes during the live stream; and game, player and team stats throughout half time coverage. We also created a Yahoo! branded ticker scene and graphics control app for use in this location.

Using software and scripts developed by our team, ticker content was authored from NFL’s Culver City facility and sent to the RCS bullets in Atlanta and Stamford, where it was composited. The NFL distributed the feed to Yahoo!, who then encoded the footage and shared it with the world. Graphics for the pre-game and half time studios also ran on two RCS bullet systems stationed in the Culver studio.

Our technicians were on site in each location before and during the event working with CBS, NFL and Yahoo! to avoid any possible hiccups on gameday. Though the project marked one of our most challenging yet, it went off without a hitch, which is a huge testament to the quality the clients we work with, as well as our team.