The 28th of July marked the opening of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with 4,500 athletes and over a million spectators expected to travel from all over the world to compete in 286 sessions across 11 exciting days of live sport.
Sports Technology (ST), the official ‘large video screens and audio services provider’ to the Games, provided a full turnkey technical solution from the design, through to delivery and operation of all LED screens, projection, audio, sport presentations, and the provision of major signal distribution infrastructure across the 15 competition venues, supporting 19 sports and eight paralympic sports.
ST was established in the UK in 2010 in the run up to the London 2012 Olympics as a specialist business, focused on delivering AV and associated technology services to major multi-sport events.
Birmingham 2022 marks the third consecutive Commonwealth Games where ST has enjoyed official provider status, and is one of 10 major multi-sport events, including six Olympic and Paralympic Games since the business was established. ST’s Commonwealth history extends back to 1986 in Edinburgh, continuing with almost every game since.
Some of the exciting technology you will see includes interactive athlete entrance LED screens – displaying unique graphics and information for each athlete presented into the competition as well as leader boards showing scoring and broadcast feeds from around Alexander Stadium.
This year, for the first time ever, ST’s Birmingham delivery includes the industry launch of a new signal distribution platform, TFC FLOW. TFC FLOW allows the transmission of multiple signals for data, intercom, video, and audio (DIVA) over one IP based fibre infrastructure across all venues.
The DIVA concept was pioneered by ST in 2015 and following deployment at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, was adopted by the IOC as a default for future Olympic Games.
The TFC FLOW solution takes functionality and flexibility to a whole new level and in a more cost-effective package. The system is built around group company NEP’s proprietary software ‘TFC’ with the integration of scalable hardware from the likes of Grass Valley, RTS and Embrionix.
The TFC FLOW system is already creating significant interest across multiple markets and will be deployed at more major events during 2022.
Damian Rowe, Managing Director of ST, comments: “Over many years at numerous games, the delivery of cable systems to connect multiple functional areas within venues has been a massive logistical challenge and an operational cost to the organisers, resulting in hundreds if not thousands of kilometres of cable and other infrastructure going to waste. The evolution of these games-wide connectivity solutions is providing real and tangible contributions to event sustainability, function, and cost.”
With Birmingham 2022 striving to be the most sustainable edition of the Commonwealth Games yet, aiming to achieve a carbon neutral legacy and an unprecedented level of social engagement, ST is playing its part by introducing a number of environmental and social initiatives.
Front and centre is the company’s partnership with Resonance, a state-of-the-art music institute in the West Midlands, to engage at all levels with students around technology workshops and placement opportunities, hopefully creating future employment opportunities within the group.
As part of being an official provider to the games, ST is proud of its involvement with the local community in the West Midlands and more specifically, with the students at Resonance.
Dave Crump, CEO of Sports Technology, adds: “We recognise as a company that there is a huge responsibility to engage and support educational establishments, sharing knowledge and hopefully encouraging students to choose a career path in the live events industry. Now more than ever we need to form these relationships, bringing young talent into our industry and allowing them to build careers in this dynamic and exciting sector.”
The team has already hosted multiple sessions and demo days at Resonance over the last year and are excited to have offered a unique opportunity to the students to get involved in the event. Five students are being brought into the production, shadowing experienced crew members, and gaining valuable skills that they can take forward with them as they progress through their careers.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is striving to become the first games to have a carbon neutral legacy and ST are maximising its use of local resources wherever possible. The majority of the 120 staff involved in delivery will use public transport throughout the games and many will be provided with bicycles for travelling to, from and around the site for the entirety of the event. These will be donated to a local charity thereafter.