Delivering live tennis action via Telstra’s global media network
Perform Group is the digital leader in global sports media and touches every aspect of the way fans engage with sport. It partners with rights holders in sport to commercialise and grow their sport across the world, through media, content, and broadcast. WTA Media is a joint venture between Perform Group and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which delivers game footage across various mediums such as television, mobile, and OTT.
In 2014, Perform Group and the WTA came together to create a landmark 10-year partnership worth over half a billion dollars, which was dened as one of the most signicant investments in women’s sport at the time. Since then, WTA Media has been responsible for the production and distribution of content and broadcast footage for the WTA’s annual global tour.
“The relationship between Perform and the WTA combines the commercial media rights for 55 WTA tournaments now held under one umbrella with WTA Media,” said Sam Sandeman-Allen, Senior Vice President, Commercial Distribution at Perform Group.
Under the agreement, Perform Group has committed to broadcast multiple feeds from various WTA events in locations as diverse as Europe, China and Uzbekistan. Several tournaments take place in parallel throughout the year, challenging Perform Group to deliver simultaneous broadcasts of overlapping events.
The scale was substantially greater than the previous years’ operations, as John Learing, Managing Director of WTA Media and Executive Vice President of production partnerships at Perform Group, explained: “We went from producing about 700 matches a year to more than 2,500 matches in a single season. So, we needed to partner with someone who understood how to contribute and distribute all of this content via the myriad platforms that broadcasters are using in the 21st century.” Perform Group wanted to move towards a fibre network to improve the quality and reliability of the broadcast output and viewer experience. It had been looking at an IP media network delivery model for several years, and wanted a network designed for the high stakes of live video.
In addition to tackling the sheer scale of the content delivery requirement and overcoming the logistical challenges of operating in so many different locations, Perform Group also wanted to centralise and simplify its relationships with suppliers of media contribution services.
“We needed a singular partner who was expert in every system there was. We needed someone on a global scale. That immediately narrows your opportunities, your partners to a very select few and so it was really apparent to WTA Media that Telstra was the right partner,” John said.