The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games had over 4,500 athletes and over a million spectators travelling 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 & Audio Services Provider’ to the Games, is providing a full turnkey technical solution from the design, through to delivery and operation of all LED screens, projection, audio, Sport Presentation, and the provision of major signal distribution infrastructure across the 15 competition venues supporting 19 sports and 8 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. The business is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Creative Technology (CT) one of the world’s leading event technology service providers and part of the NEP Worldwide Network.
Birmingham 2022 marks the 3rd consecutive Commonwealth Games where ST has enjoyed official provider status, and is one of 10 major multi-sport events, including 6 Olympic and Paralympic Games since the business was established. CT’s Commonwealth history extends back to 1986 in Edinburgh, continuing with almost every Games 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 around Alexander Stadium.
This year for the first time ever, ST’s Birmingham delivery includes the industry launch of new signal distribution platform TFC FLOW. TFC FLOW allows 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 commented “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 are playing their part 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 with the group.
As part of being an Official Provider to the Games, ST are proud of their involvement with the local community in the West Midlands and more specifically, with the students at Resonance.
Dave Crump CEO of Sports Technology added “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 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 edition to have a carbon neutral legacy and ST are maximising 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 at the end of the event.
Last week, Alexander Stadium was brought to life for the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. A spectacular show of light and colour, marking the start 10 days of world class sport in Birmingham, bringing together people in a region that is celebrated for its cultural diversity.
With a long tradition in delivering opening and closing ceremonies for major sporting events, it was a huge honour for Creative Technology (CT) to be working on a major project of this type, once again in the UK.
Engaged by Birmingham Ceremonies (a Joint venture between Gary Beestone Associates and Done and Dusted), CT provided LED display technology and playback services for the show, working closely with Total Fabrications for the structural elements and BAFTA award winning artist and creative director Tal Rosner for the content.
Centre stage on the stadium floor the ‘Bullring’ was made from a specialist outdoor and waterproof LED, created measuring over 260m in circumference, incorporating ramps for vehicle access in several locations and a seamless removeable section allowing larger scenic access including the massive mechanical bull.
At one end of the stadium a massive telescopic LED tower incorporating 250m2 of CT’s flagship BQ4 LED reaching 12m high when fully extended was another spectacular centrepiece of the overall production.
In addition to these custom elements built specifically for the show, CT also supplied the four main LED screens within the stadium which will remain in place throughout the Games. These were upgraded both in size and resolution following a recent test event now measuring 125m2 each and utilising the same BQ4 product as the tower screen.
Delivering content to all these displays CT deployed their custom G1 server platform running Pixera software. The G1 hardware is configurable to run multiple software options increasing flexibility, utilisation and consequently making it a more flexible and cost-effective solution.
Ross Howard, veteran of several major ceremonies including London in 2012 and now CT’s Project Manager for Birmingham 2022, commented “Managing a project on this scale is both a huge challenge and a great honour. The ambition and attention to detail from the creative team means we are pushing technology to the limit and constantly innovating to achieve visual perfection. It is a great experience to be working alongside so many industry leaders and showing once again that we Brits really know how to put on a show!”
Nick Joyce – Technical Manager (Systems) for Birmingham ceremonies commented “whilst we were very familiar with CT’s LED capabilities around LED and Servers, the Pixera solution is new to us. As promised, it has delivered excellent functionality and flawless operation from fewer servers and at lower cost than alternative systems. The ROE BQ system deployed in the towers looked stunning and the fact that it perfectly matched the main stadium screens added to the overall impact.”
Date Published: 11/08/2022