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Live Graphics - The Future of Live Sports Broadcasts

i2_small (1)Since the strike of COVID-19, traditional sports broadcasters have adopted cloud-based workflows at a very high pace as compared to the situation before.

Setting the Scene - COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has, and continues to cause an unprecedented disruption across many industries of the global economy. TV broadcasts, also called linear broadcasts, have continued to excel owing to the current state of affairs where people are stuck indoors, and always on their televisions.

However, the situation is different behind the scenes. The economic strain has forced advertisers to minimize their spending on advertisement, which has affected broadcasters’ budgets. Therefore, broadcasters have had to rethink how they deliver their programming to their viewers. Traditional broadcast workflows are both unscalable—because viewers are consuming more content than ever, and unsustainable—especially in sports broadcasting because broadcasting cost has to be scaled down.

Since the strike of COVID-19, traditional sports broadcasters have adopted cloud-based workflows at a very high pace as compared to the situation before.

The widespread introduction of this technology will have a profound and positive effect on sports broadcasters. This will create a flexible and cost-effective working environment, which can keep up with the new age of content delivery via OTT and live streaming services.

shutterstock_1669704829The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented disruption across many industries.


What's the meaning of OTT, and why does it need a new generation of live graphics?

To talk about graphics in this modern era, you have to address the impact of OTT (Over-The-Top) vs. linear broadcast content delivery, and how this movement is going to shape the technologies involved in sports production of the future.

In a nutshell, OTT is the act of bypassing (going over-the-top of) traditional methods of content delivery (free-to-air, satellite TV, etc.) Instead, content delivery makes its way to the viewer via the internet. The most important feature of an OTT content delivery service is its superior ability to deliver as much live content as you can capture to your viewers.

The best way to understand the essence of OTT over linear broadcast content delivery is by comparing how each technology powers a 'channel' of content.‘ But before that, what is a channel? It’s a single feed of live video content that a viewer consumes. Between the two, OTT provides better functionalities over traditional Linear Broadcast Channels.

1. Linear Broadcast Channels

This is a channel that a viewer would receive via free-to-air, cable, or satellite television. The disadvantages of using this channel arises due to its complexity to operate, high cost required for licensing of frequencies, and purchasing of transmission equipment. Its complexity implies that it can only be operated by specialists, which is an additional cost.

The nature of the technology powering a single linear channel limits the broadcaster’s ability to scale up the amount of simultaneous content-delivery they can achieve.

TV_STATION_SMALL (1)Linear broadcast television channels are expensive and complex to operate.

2. OTT Channels

Think of an OTT channel as a single live stream you would watch on a platform like YouTube. There may be millions of live streams happening around the world at one time, but you are viewing one of them. The key-word in the sentence above is 'millions.'

Now, a broadcaster hypothetically has the power to launch 'millions' of content channels through OTT content delivery, which is by far a capability that cannot be supported by traditional linear broadcast technologies.

The technology that powers this ecosystem is highly scalable and flexible. This in turn brings down the cost-per-channel significantly, hence allowing the broadcaster to run more channels. Thanks to OTT content delivery.

LAPTOP_SOCCEROTT content delivery: highly scalable and sustainable.

However, it also raises some concerns about the cost of producing the content. Traditional live broadcast production workflows are fundamentally incompatible with the scalability and potential supported by OTT. A current live broadcast for a single sporting event may have hundreds of on-site specialist-personnel and Outside Broadcast trucks (OB Trucks) which are quite essential in facilitating remote broadcasts. These factors limit its scalability.

On the contrary, the OTT world requires highly scalable, vertically integrated technology that can replicate in a non-linear cost structure—reduction in the cost of production with an increase in volume. The main setback of traditional live graphics production technologies is that their traditional graphic solutions are resource-heavy technologies. This is an unscalable solution that isn't fit to serve the rapid expansion of live-sports content-consumption. The full power of OTT can be achieved by adopting features such as live graphics.

In essence, live sports broadcasters are calling for more advanced technologies to meet the demands of OTT content delivery, so as to facilitate effective streaming of live graphics during production. And actually, that’s why we came up with LIGR.Live.
We figured out what the tomorrow of live sports will be and incorporated some great features into the LIGR.Live. These feature include:

  • Uses cloud-graphics which eliminates hardware renderers or controllers.
  • Supports Full Remote Production Capability to work efficiently with all remote production workflows.
  • Automated workflows for entire in-game graphics rendering
  • Convenient even for the unskilled: It only takes minutes to implement live graphics into your live broadcast.
  • It allows Browser rendering—Live-graphics rendering occurs in the cloud, hence independent of hardware.
  • The graphic themes used are compatible with TV-quality standards.
  • Allows In-stream Advertising & Reporting: Seamless sponsor integration which supports display and reporting to bring money back into the game, and fund self-sustainable productions at large-scale.


100% cloud-based - scalable, sustainable live sports productions

So, what does 100% cloud-based imply, and why is it important?
In this day and age, most people are familiar with what 'the cloud' is and what it entails. Cloud-computing powers many aspects of our modern lives. For instance, if you have a business, it’s no longer necessary to have an on-site email or a storage server. All you need to do is sign up on platforms such as G Suit, Dropbox, etc. They assign you an email and cloud storage instantly so you no longer need on-site servers.

SERVER_ROOMCloud technologies enable companies to remove the need for expensive onsite infrastructure.

Broadcast-specific technologies have started to take advantage of 'the cloud' by using it for storage or for connecting between an outside-broadcast and facilities at their offices. For instance, a traditional graphics solution that takes advantage of the cloud may source assets and data from the cloud. However, the solution still requires on-site graphics rendering hardware and controllers, which means it’s not 100% cloud-graphics. The next generation of broadcast technologies needs to integrate 100% cloud-graphics to meet the scalability requirements necessary for OTT content delivery.

Now, LIGR.Live is the next-generation, 100% cloud-graphics solution for live sports broadcasts. LIGR's graphics rendering and control interfaces are 100% hosted in the cloud. All the user needs is any web-enabled device to use LIGR.Live. No high-performance computer renderers or expensive control surfaces. With a stable internet connection, you’re good to go.


What’s the essence of having a 100% cloud-based platform in the new generation of live sports broadcasting?

To reiterate, OTT supports almost unlimited volume of content-delivery to consumers. Traditional solutions will not and cannot keep up with the growth of content production that OTT requires. Consider a case where a broadcaster is required to produce live-broadcasts of a thousand games in a week, which translates to around 142 matches per day for 7-days. Based on those simple figures alone, you can probably start to see the logistical challenges of a traditional graphics workflow. The broadcaster will run short of:

  • Enough hardware.
  • Adequate personnel with relevant expertise.
  • Logistics to manage the above to service each broadcast.

OB_TRUCK_SMALL (1)The inside of one section of an outside broadcast (OB) truck that would be used to facilitate the traditional production workflows of a live sports broadcast.

In contrast, LIGR's next-generation, 100% cloud-based graphics solution does not face the challenges of a traditional workflow. LIGR.Live can produce TV-quality, live-graphics for an unlimited number of live sports broadcasts. It is hardware-free and automatic.

LIGR.Live can fulfil the demand for content that OTT will require, which is crucial for the long-term sustainability of live sports production. An added benefit for sports of all competition levels is the ability to aggregate and broadcast these games at a high level of quality to sports OTT services or platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, thanks to the LIGR's technology!

Remote Production Capability and Workflows

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing remote, cloud-based production in the broadcast industry to scale up faster than anyone would have predicted. And to be realistic, this is an adoption that we need urgently. What has always lagged the live broadcast industry is the mindset of "don't fix what isn't broke." This is why the slow and expensive workflows have continued to dominate the industry.

However, you can now understand the reason behind this dominant trend, especially in live sports. Due to the large sums of money involved, it wasn’t an issue to spend funds in sustaining legacy workflows.

Therefore, remote production is about removing particular functions from an on-site to an off-site, which is secure and in a stable location.

The value of remote production lies in the finances. The fewer the people and equipment you have to have on-site, the less your production costs. In particular, when you are talking about producing simultaneous games at different locations, any economy of scale efficiency helps produce more content for less. Therefore, this’s why the concept of remote production has become so popular.

LIGR.Live, being a 100% cloud-based platform, is positioned perfectly to work with all remote production workflows. LIGR's platform allows for all parts of the graphics workflow to work remotely: From collecting match data, graphics rendering, to overlaying the graphics on live vision.

LIGR.Live is made up of several fundamental areas. They are:

LIGR.Live Dashboard:2. Assets@2x

The dashboard is a web-based interface that allows a user to generate graphics overlays for broadcasts, manage their graphic assets such as sports and advertising assets, and more. The dashboard is the primary interface for controlling all aspects of LIGR.Live.

LIGR LiveScore App:

5. In-Game Stats@2xThe LIGR LiveScore app provides an easy and user-friendly way to populate your live sports graphics with match data. The app can operate on any web-enabled device. However, it is best to run on a portable device such as a smartphone or a tablet.

LIGR Control Room:


The control room allows the user to have complete control over when to show and hide a particular graphic on a live broadcast. The control room is also a way to customize the information displayed on certain live graphics such as a lower third—where the user can input their desired text into the graphic manually. LIGR’s control room is a new, unique take on manual graphics operation, offering a stunning and effortless-to-use user interface.

LIGR Graphics Overlays:

1. TV Graphics@2x

Each LIGR graphics overlay renders in the cloud and displays via a unique URL that a user generates from the LIGR.Live dashboard. LIGR's graphics overlays operate into two modes: auto-mode and manual-mode.

- Auto-mode: It tells the graphics to show and hide on the live stream automatically. The live match data that is received by LIGR drives the logic behind this automation. For instance, goal scored = display goal scored graphic.

- Manual-mode: It tells the graphics overlay to wait for user input before either showing or hiding a graphic on the live stream.
For example, the user physically clicks the "show" button to display a particular graphic.

Let's talk about a few different scenarios on how LIGR.Live's workflow could be used:

1. LiveScore on-site, overlay off-site
In this case, a live scorer would be on-site, sitting in the grandstands and scoring the game via the LIGR LiveScore app. LIGR takes this data and applies it to the graphics instantly. From the production side, nothing more than a camera operator would be on-site, sending vision back to an off-site remote control room. This is also where the graphics overlay would be applied to the broadcast via a vision mixer.
The operators in the remote control room may then decide to run the graphics on either auto-mode—great for a single camera production, or manual-mode—controlled via the LIGR Control Room.

2. LiveScore on-site, overlay on-site:
The workflow is much the same, as discussed above. However, the vision mixing element of the production workflow is located on-site. Demonstrating the flexibility of LIGR.Live, it does not matter where you overlay the graphics or control the graphics from. All that is needed is an internet connection.

3. LiveScore off-site, overlay in the cloud:
One more example to show the complete, remote, 100% cloud-based capability of the technology:

With a camera on-site sending vision to a cloud-based vision mixing platform, LIGR's graphics overlay is applied to the live vision in the cloud and is streamed to the viewer. A live scorer uses a low-latency live vision feed from the sports venue to live score the game via the LIGR LiveScore app remotely.

For a single-camera live broadcast, this means the only hardware that is on-site at the sports venue is a camera and an encoder. With everything else hosted in the cloud and the graphics set on auto-mode, no graphics operator is required, only a live scorer.

While some aspects of live sports production will always be linear, e.g., a camera and an operator, by adopting remote, 100% cloud-based technologies, you can significantly reduce costs per production as your number of live broadcasts increase.

Now, imagine if you could automate parts of the production workflow the same way LIGR.Live automates the triggering of live graphics. Okay, now stop imaging. Read-on below.


Automated Graphics Triggering and Rendering

We have established how remote production workflows and OTT content delivery work hand-in-hand, both logistically and financially, with cloud technology being the backbone of this relationship. If "the aim of the game" is to create as much high-quality live sports content as possible, then it’s better to improve workflow automation. Combining both auto-video and auto-graphics, you create the recipe for great broadcast scale and a true supply to the demand that OTT infrastructure enables.

We knew at LIGR that to crack the streaming problem for the long tail of live sports, we needed a cloud-based, automated software that could completely remove the requirement for a manual graphics operator. Having a graphics operator for even a single camera live production just seemed crazy. The unique insight here was that if you can remove the graphics operator, you can automate a professional game and have a single person to monitor a large number of games at once. Even if you have ten camera operators out in the field, if you can simply live score the game on-site, and overlay the graphics off-site, then you can have one single operator who can sit back, monitor, and manage ten games at once.

This significantly opens the door to producing thousands of games, professionally, with automated graphics, all pushed to an OTT with ten or fewer humans involved every ten streams. That's a considerable and significant saving that helps sustain the supply of live content to OTT platforms that can take as much content as you can deliver to them.



Templated graphics themes and unskilled preparation, operation and deployment

An OTT world can take unlimited content. But unfortunately, there are limited skills and knowledge in the industry that can hardly meet this demand. Most sporting clubs or small-time production companies don't have skilled graphic designers, developers, or staff who understand traditional complicated graphics or scoring applications.

A next-gen graphics platform had to take all of those issues away from the potential broadcaster. So at LIGR.Live, that's what we did. We do the development and design for you. We have built a platform that incorporates these designs into a simple, turn-key, easy to use features that we like to say your grandmother or grandfather could use—superior user experience for unskilled users.

To be the next generation, we had to literally take nothing from the last generation, other than making sure we could hit the same level of quality. We did that with ease. We took the best bit. We left all the legacy and negative parts of traditional graphics production behind, truly creating a next-generation experience for a new era of sports broadcasting. Our UI and workflow are second to none, and we guarantee it's the best and fastest live graphics solution in the market. LAPTOP_SELECT_THEMESelect your live graphics theme within the LIGR.Live Dashboard


HTML5 / Browser Rendering - no reliance on hardware or a desktop software render engine

A next-gen graphics platform can’t be reliant on any traditional graphics rendering engine. By deciding we needed to go 100% cloud-graphics, we needed a 100% cloud renderer that was not reliant on any particular hardware and was ubiquitous across all devices. So we turned to the web browser and the modern languages that define how the browser displays and renders graphics. A browser is on every device; loads fast and improves every day. It is the most popular graphics rendering engine in the world, and it’s also free for all users. LIGR had to be built on the browser rendering engine to truly be next-generation and fit into the demands of OTT content delivery, the new era of sports broadcasting.


TV-Quality Graphics - Match statistics, animations, design

You can’t build the next generation of live graphics without maintaining the quality of the last generation. That’s like taking two steps forward and one backward. Maintaining the legacy “TV-Quality” is important because fans expect quality storytelling in sports, match statistic integrations, professional themes and animations, player level detail and images, and dynamic sponsor integrations. Everything you see at a professional level of production from graphics must be able to maintain and have the capability in the next generation.

At LIGR, our focus is on TV quality and in-game live sports graphics while taking away every other single pain associated with graphics. We don’t delve in generic graphics, be it church graphics, conference graphics, etc. We focus on TV-quality and in-game live sports graphics because that’s the biggest challenge in sports broadcasting. And we love a challenge. LAPTOP_CONTROL_W_PHONE


Sponsors - Seamless integration, display and reporting on commercial inventory/sponsors/brand

Brands and sponsors of live sports see the opportunity in the new era of OTT sports broadcast. In essence, it is live-streamed aggregated content on common viewing platforms. However, without a next-gen live graphics platform to integrate their assets seamlessly and professionally into the in-game live content at important moments, and then to report back on when and how their assets are displayed, it’s an impossible game. A great next-gen graphics solution must make reporting possible and efficient. Also, it should improve the display for broadcasters, the league and the brand.

However, at LIGR, we knew that in a world of unlimited demand, with greater localized and dispersed audiences, a live graphics platform for live sports in an OTT world had to be just as much a sponsor display and report platform. Without the latter, the former holds infinitely less value, as sports broadcasts commercialize through external sponsors. It’s a model that works because live sports are still the most valuable in terms of generating and engaging audiences and eyeballs globally. For sponsors who value those audiences, it is still the best way to engage them and promote your brand—whether globally, nationally, or locally.

LIGR.Live reporting dashboard



LIGR.Live, a solution that has been built based on the above unique insights turned into a next-generation product that has and will continue solving real-world challenges in the space of live sports production for the new era of sports with OTT broadcast, even after COVID-19. Some of its cool features are:
  • Uses cloud-graphics:  They eliminate hardware renderers or controllers.
  • Full Remote Production Capability: Optimized to work with all remote production workflows.
  • Automated workflows for entire in-game graphics rendering
  • Simple to use: No skills needed. It only takes minutes to implement live graphics into your live broadcast.
  • Allows Browser rendering—Live-graphics rendering occurs in the cloud, hence independent of hardware.
  • The graphic themes used are compatible with TV-quality standards.
  • Allows In-stream Advertising & Reporting: Seamless sponsor integration supports display and reporting to bring money back into the game, and fund self-sustainable productions at large-scale.

What type of customer does LIGR.Live’s platform suit?
  • Sporting organizations and broadcasters that are looking to simplify, automate, and move their productions to the cloud for live sports streams.
  • Clients seeking to improve live stream with an out-of-the-box, turn-key, and automated solution with integrated match statistics into TV quality themes and designs
And specifically:
  • Sports organizations that want to produce a lot of single-camera live streams.
  • Small and medium production companies seeking to scale up and automate their productions convenient for the unskilled.
  • Schools and colleges looking to undertake their productions easily.
  • Large sports organizations aiming at aggregating and standardizing their content and perhaps restrict the content that goes live. 
  • Single club live streamers who want to put on a professional live stream for their teams and clubs with minimum resources and prior knowledge of streaming
“A next-gen live graphics platform for a new era of sports broadcast in a world of live sports and OTT.” 
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Luke McCoy

CEO, Co-Founder

Ready to take your live streams to the next level?