WTT teams with LTN to ace live video delivery
Co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s, World TeamTennis (WTT) showcases the best in professional tennis through an innovative team format. The U.S. sports league features many of the world’s best players competing annually for the King Trophy, the league’s championship trophy. League play and the league championship occur each year between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
The three-week WTT season features numerous matches held within a compressed timeframe. The 2019 WTT season featured 59 live matches played across eight different locations using various production solutions, and WTT sought to deliver a clean transmission of every match — high image quality and high QoS, without interruption or signal loss — to its domestic and international distribution partners (i.e., broadcasters, OTT services, and wagering platforms). Select live matches also required the addition of live closed-captioning.
In addition to requiring stability and flexibility, successful transmission of live video necessitated the packaging of live content in all of the formats specified by WTT’s distribution partners. WTT needed the solution set up and operational within a tight timeline.
For live video transmission during preceding seasons, WTT had relied on redundant satellite delivery for a limited number of matches. In that earlier model, it was necessary to scale additional mirror servers in Google Cloud to fulfill delivery to OTT partners. Because this process lacked full testing and live ops monitoring backup, it was difficult or impossible to address certain transmission issues.
Through two permanent venue installations of LTN LEAF and five temporary installations with LTN’s LEAF Flypack, WTT was able to distribute content to platforms in both broadcast TV — ESPN, FOX, and NBC Sports Regional Networks — and streaming — YuKu, DAZN, and through Google Cloud to WTT’s website. Additionally, LTN provided the required closed captioning for FOX and NBC Sports Regional Networks.
With its shift to delivery via the LTN Network, WTT reduced risk associated with relying on wholly open internet for OTT delivery and was able to count on additional backup in case of outages. LTN enabled WTT to deliver live video to linear networks and OTT providers with widely different requirements, and also to provide closed-captioning and multichannel audio support for OTT distribution.
Working with LTN, WTT was able to spin up a robust operations environment for its very short season and economically scale delivery to its broadcast partners. LTN technology streamlined the process of creating and delivering content to various providers in the appropriate format. The LTN Network allowed WTT to eliminate backup satellite and, in turn, to significantly reduce transmission costs.
“LTN was a great partner for World TeamTennis' unique requirements,” says WTT CEO Carlos Silva. “We produced 59 live matches in less than three weeks using IP-based delivery from site to both linear tv and OTT partners, some with very strict latency requirements. LTN was able to flawlessly deliver simultaneous live matches, produced in different signal formats, to multiple international takers each with unique delivery requirements. Weather conditions also affect our productions and LTN’s excellent operations group always was able to pivot to meet our demands without a hitch.”