For Third Time, FIFA Taps Deltatre To Provide World Cup Official Stats

An immense amount of data is produced during the 64 games of the World Cup, and, for the third straight tournament, deltatre is supplying the technology to gather and manage that information. A staff of 90 from deltatre, a sports-media-services company based in Torino, Italy, is on-site in South Africa to manage live match-data gathering and player tracking and provide the official statistics to FIFA and other outlets.

The heart of the data-management system is deltatre’s MaTRICS platform, which is divided into two major components: Local Results System (LRS) and Central Results System (CRS).

“The Local Results System is responsible for the management of individual matches at the venue and all related local services: live data gathering, official printouts, live data feeds for CRS, TV graphics, and video boards,” explains Nicolò Omento, who handles marketing and communications for deltatre. “The LRS is made up of data-entry laptops located in the spotters position, or tribune. It is connected through a network to the rest of the equipment installed in the TV compound.”

Deltatre custom-designed the user interface on the LRS for football data, so that it is intuitive to operate.

The CRS, which is fully integrated with the LRS, is hosted at the International Broadcast Center in Johannesburg. Serving as the central repository for all results data, it automatically aggregates data from the LRS in real time; takes data from other sources, such as historical results databases; and manages the distribution of that data to external services. The LRS is connected to the CRS through ISDN/ADSL lines.

Once the MaTRICS platform has aggregated the data, it provides the official statistics to FIFA, which are then fed to FIFA.com and other relevant Websites.

“The communication between the LRS and CRS is two-way, meaning that both components can receive and send data to the other,” Omento says. “The data exchange is in real time, so, as soon as a new event is entered by the spotter in the tribune, it is immediately available to all LRS and CRS services.”

The LRS and CRS are set up to be completely autonomous, so that, if there is a failure to the network connection used to transfer information to the CRS, the LRS can continue working locally, providing all the local services that do not require data (such as tournament statistics) from the CRS.

In addition to providing statistical information, MaTRICS also integrates competition data into deltatre’s d3D graphics server; Stereo-d3D, the company’s stereoscopic graphics engine; and third-party engines to provide real-time 3D graphic outputs for live or postproduction graphics in a variety of languages.

“The outputs are available in HD and SD and can also be provided in a variety of digital file formats for NLE stations, including QuickTime and Avid,” Omento says. “Our solution also offers remote graphics insertion, using a pool of graphics engines in a remote location driven by the same control interface and data but with different designs and layouts. TV directors can preview graphics and use the graphics at their choosing, through a GPI-based synchronization mechanism.”

Deltatre also designed the official TV graphics for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and feeds stadium video boards with graphic captions and sponsor video clips.

The company designed all of its services to function both as standalone services and as part of a larger system, but the World Cup integration of all of those services is no easy task.

“The most challenging part of this project is to be able to manage highly complex events, starting from the beginning, the data gathering, until the end, the outputs driven on Websites, TV graphics, etc.,” Omento says. “With all of our products and services, we always need to ensure the highest standards of quality, reliability, accuracy, and speed.”