DAZN Pushes the Boundaries of Technology For Live Streaming Sports Service

Dedicated sports streaming service DAZN provides fans with unlimited access to watch a wide array of live and on-demand sport on virtually any internet-connected device.

Events can be watched live or on demand, or in highlights packages. With that kind of flexibility and popularity at stake, its challenge is to offer a service that can handle the fluctuations in scheduling, demand and regional activity without any degradation of service.

To provide that solution, DAZN uses M2A Media’s Live Streaming service to deliver low latency, low buffering, high-quality video to ensure the excellent streaming service that its subscribers have come to expect.

Dom Wedgwood, director of broadcast and technology services at Perform Group, said: “DAZN’s live sports streaming service is revolutionising live and on-demand sport for viewers worldwide. To do this we constantly push the boundaries of technology and needed a service provider that would be able to meet these challenges.

“M2A Media’s Live Streaming and Live Capture services are helping us deliver a core experience that is integral to the quality of service we deliver to our subscribers across the globe.”

In order to offer the most comprehensive live sports package DAZN receives live event streams from venues across the globe. The streams are produced in multiple languages and then delivered to subscribers using a wide variety of devices and network capabilities. The result must be delivered at broadcast quality and offered with low latency and no interruption in playback.

The event schedule can vary from a handful of concurrent events midweek to 40 concurrent events at peak times in the weekend. Audience levels vary from niche to huge demand as seen during events like the Mayweather v McGregor fight.

DAZN worked closely with M2A Media to add the M2A Live Streaming service to its Live Event delivery pipeline. The M2A Media Live Streaming architecture runs active/active in two Amazon Web Services (AWS) regions to ensure full redundancy of the live workflow. Source streams are cross-connected from two DAZN data centres resulting in each event encoded live in two AWS regions from redundant sources. This delivers a broadcast level of availability for every live minute.

The live streams are transcoded by cloud instances of AWS Elemental Live to a carefully chosen ABR set and then presented to Unified Origin for just-in-time packaging and encryption and to maintain the live archive. The Unified Origins create DASH, Smooth and HLS streams with tailored manifests for each event and device type. The streams are served through NGINX caches and presented to CDN. The origins and caches are tuned to autoscale to react immediately to increases in user requests. The API’s also allow for instances to be pre-warmed to handle the biggest leaps in user numbers seen with the top tier events.

Live Capture service that preserves every live event as a VOD asset to use for catch up viewing. The solution uses a multi CDN configuration that can be tuned to deliver the best performance around the world.

Audience sizes can vary dramatically depending on the sporting event. M2A Media’s Live Streaming solution uses auto-scaling algorithms to provision origin and cache instances as the audience builds. Similarly, instances are shut down when audience numbers fall to save on AWS resource cost. The service consistently handles big peaks in audience for events like the El Clasico or the Mayweather V McGregor fight without causing rebuffering or video start failures.

The M2A service has no limit on the number of events that run concurrently. Using the M2A Live Event API resources are allocated only for the duration of the live event.

For live encoding, M2A Media uses cloud instances of AWS Elemental Live as they offer the quality, reliability, density and flexibility needed. Unified Streaming provides the live origin. Unified Origin is preferred for its scalability, reliability, flexibility and ease of use. NGINX is the choice for cache as M2A Media finds it the best for media caching. Finally, M2A Media chose to build in the AWS Cloud to take advantage of the scale on offer and the comprehensive and well-architected set of infrastructure features. For contribution, it uses FFMPEG to send RTMP with FEC into the two AWS Regions.

The DAZN service is currently available in the US, Canada, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.

DAZN, part of DAZN Group, is backed by Access Industries, whose investments in the media and entertainment sector include Warner Music Group and Deezer.

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