Major League Soccer

How Is Major League Soccer Getting Live TV Clips To the Sideline in under 180 Seconds?

Abstract

Major League Soccer (MLS) wanted to provide sideline medical staff with real time TV clips to aid in the spotting of injuries in games. After evaluating several solutions, they selected SnapStream for its ease of use and speed.

The Challenge

Major League Soccer (MLS), the U.S. men’s professional soccer league, developed a Concussion Protocol in 2017 that allows doctors to administer the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) to quickly determine whether an injured player has suffered a concussion and should, therefore, be removed from the game.

Unlike other sports leagues, however, MLS allows for a limited number of player substitutions; if a player is removed from a game after three substitutions have already taken place, then his team must continue to play without replacing him on the field. MLS only allows doctors a three-minute time window to assess whether a player should be taken off the field for further assessment.

To aid in this process, Joseph Atkinson, senior manager for medical administration at MLS, hired and trained a team of “spotters” to monitor the live television feed of soccer games, identify potential instances in which a player has suffered a concussion, and quickly forward the video clips of these incidents to doctors on the field sidelines to use in their assessment. “The video was kind of my brainchild where we said, ‘If we see it, we might as well let the doctor see it too,’” said Atkinson.

“My background is as a paramedic, so if I can see how the car wreck happened it helps me figure out what happened and get a better diagnosis.”

Because of the high stakes of the concussion assessment and the extremely limited time to conduct it, Atkinson’s team of spotters needed a tool that would allow them to identify a potential concussion incident, edit a short clip of it, and send the clip to the doctor’s iPad, all within the three-minute time limit.

The Solution

Atkinson gave serious consideration to three different video capture tools. The first two, Snagit and PlayIt, were not able to deliver clips to the field within the three-minute time limit. “The problem with Snagit was that it has to run off MLS Live, which has a 30-second delay to begin with, so we were already 30 seconds behind,” said Atkinson. “And then the nature of having to cut, save it to some place, and go back into an email and send it -- it took anywhere from four-and-a-half to five minutes.” PlayIt was even more cumbersome.

After a demo and a thorough review, Atkinson ultimately decided to go with SnapStream.

“After SnapStream came along, when we saw an injury, we were able to immediately back it up 10 seconds, hit the clip button, and by the time we got done letting the doctor know it was there the clip was already sent and sitting in the inbox of the iPad.”

On average, it takes 2.5 minutes for the spotters to see a potential concussion incident, clip it, and send it to the iPad.

The setup and training for SnapStream went smoothly. SnapStream support staff trained Atkinson and four of his IT staff. “[The SnapStream staff] was very responsive,” he said. “If we had any questions, we’d shoot an email up, and usually within 24 hours we’d get a response back.” Atkinson’s spotter team consists of 11 certified athletic trainers, and he was able to train them on the SnapStream platform within four minutes. “By the time they sent it three or four times, they were pros at it.”

Results

Atkinson incorporated SnapStream into his team’s workflow in March 2017 ,and on game days he has 11 spotters using it in the New York office to clip and share TV clips in real time with medical personnel on the sidelines of the various games. While not part of the Concussion Protocol, SnapStream has proven to be a great resource.

In addition to using SnapStream to assess possible concussions, MLS doctors and athletic trainers have leveraged the platform to review other injuries as well. “There are a lot of times on Mondays where we’ll have a couple of the athletic trainers who will send us an email saying, ‘Hey, so and so was hurt during X minute of the game, can you send us the clip?’” explained Atkinson. “And we have the ability to go back and pull that clip and send it to them so they can put it up with their medical records.”

He also immediately took advantage of the alerts feature in SnapStream and set it so he receives an email every time someone says the words “injury” or “concussion.”

“So when my boss comes down and asks, ‘Hey what happened in this game?’ I don’t have to watch every game, I just have an email that says what was said, and I can go back and review it,"

The MLS Disciplinary Committee also sometimes makes requests for clips. “If there’s a hard foul where someone gets injured, rather than going back and reviewing the entire game, 99 times out of 100 we have it already clipped, and we send it to them,” said Atkinson. “Or they’ll go back and clip it themselves.”

Atkinson cautioned that, while SnapStream is a tool MLS uses in its assessment, it’s not actually part of the Concussion Protocol.

In addition to Atkinson’s team, there are dozens of other MLS staff members across the organization’s broadcast and marketing teams that use SnapStream’s platform to cut, broadcast, and share game clips on TV and social media.

Assessment

“So far, the feedback is great,” said Atkinson. “It’s a program that gives me the ability to clip a video and send it to a specific email address without having to spend a lot of time-saving, searching, and moving through multiple applications. It does exactly what we want it to do.” Would he recommend it to another sports league? “If there’s the same need, I would absolutely recommend that they use it.”

“It’s a program that gives me the ability to clip a video and send it to a specific email address without having to spend a lot of time-saving, searching, and moving through multiple applications. It does exactly what we want it to do.”

About Major League Soccer

Major League Soccer (https://www.mlssoccer.com) is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and was founded in 1996, after the country hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

About SnapStream

Based out of Houston, SnapStream (www.snapstream.com) has been making broadcast TV recording, search, and distribution products for over a decade. SnapStream’s diverse list of several hundred customers include: almost all the talk shows, including The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert; TV networks such as CBS, NBC, Golf Channel, MLB TV, and others; News/Entertainment brands such as Buzzfeed, Politico, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vice, VOX, Slate, and HuffPost; Sports leagues and teams such as several NFL, NHL, MLS teams, The PGA Tour, Major League Soccer, The LPGA, NASCAR, and WWE; the US Senate and the Library Of Congress; and many others. Learn more about SnapStream at www.snapstream.com


St. Louis Blues

SnapStream Gives the St. Louis Blues a Digital Boost

May 04 2016 by Eric Cohn

 

It’s time to put the old, laborious ways back on the bench, bring SnapStream into the game, and give fans the play-by-play posts they deserve. Social media connects fans with their favorite teams, but sharing action-packed visual content used to be a taxing process—long wait times, screenshots, numerous uploads and downloads.

 

 

Matt Gardner, Senior Director of Promotions and Digital Strategy for the St. Louis Blues Hockey Club, oversees a team of digital strategists that are leading the NHL in providing a comprehensive digital experience for their fans. At the beginning of the 2015-2016 season, Matt and his team began looking for a digital solution that was as user friendly and as real-time as possible.

 

 

 

Their previous solution to share content to their main social media accounts, Facebook and Twitter, took too long to deliver content and required long waits and tedious edits. Clips of the Blues’ big goals, incredible passes and huge saves by their goalies could take up to 20 minutes to become available to the digital media team, if at all.

 

 

 

 

The Blues found their solution in SnapStream. SnapStream provides a real-time solution for the team, and allows them to clip any and all moments they want to share with their fans quickly and easily. “The turnaround time is now seconds,” said Gardner. “We see it live and we immediately jump into SnapStream. It goes straight to Twitter from there in seconds.” With SnapStream, goals can happen in real time, and a GIF, image, or video clip of the goal can be posted natively to social media, almost instantaneously.

 

 

 

Whether the Blues are at the Scottrade Center or on the road, all of the video feeds important to the digital media team are now accessible through SnapStream. Even the in-stadium feed can be accessed, allowing the digital team to share fun moments like the Kiss-Cam and overhead shots of the beginning puck drop.

As the Blues continue into the 2016 post-season, their innovative digital strategy team continues to recognize that SnapStream is a powerful tool for keeping their fans engaged on social media. Now, fans can feel the real-time rush of the game at their desk or on their mobile device. And, the digital team has more time to interact with fans, making them a larger part of the game and a vital part of the experience.

 

Click the link below to request a demo of the SnapStream Software.

Request a Demo


Emerson College

Analyzing Broadcast Journalism

SnapStream’s TV search technology provides Emerson College’s Department of Journalism with:

  • The ability to capture, edit and view live TV in the classroom
  • Access to a vast archive of TV news broadcasts
  • A valuable tool for media research and content analysis

The Challenge

As a university that specializes in communications, Emerson College recognizes the importance of studying, capturing and analyzing journalism across all media platforms, including television.

Before SnapStream came along in 2007, the Department of Journalism recorded a limited amount of news broadcasts on VHS tapes, according to Paul Niwa, graduate journalism professor. “The technology was clunky and a huge burden,” Niwa said.

Because copies of news programs had to be requested in advance from the school’s Media Services Department, Emerson professors lacked a nimble way to capture, edit or view live TV in the classroom environment.

The Solution

SnapStream’s enterprise-class digital recording and TV search capabilities fit the bill for advancing broadcast journalism studies at Emerson College.

The SnapStream deployed in Emerson’s server room records six concurrent channels and maintains an automated recording schedule, which can be adjusted on the fly just like a DVR.

With a digital TV archive that spans thousands of hours in depth, SnapStream enables professors like Niwa, and students as well, to search and study breaking TV news from the computers on campus. “It enables us to be spontaneous and dynamic,” Niwa said. “I can perform an ad hoc search, create a clip on the fly, and pull it up in class.”

The Results

SnapStream’s powerful recording and search technology provides Emerson with immediate access to developing news, as well as the ability to look back on archived news. With newfound flexibility, the Department of Journalism pursues a wider variety of teaching strategies, such as:

  • Side-by-Side Comparison: “It’s a great tool for comparing angles and teaching the focus of the story,” Niwa said. With the features of TV streaming and clipping, professors are able to show video clips from multiple newscasts and highlight the differences between them.
  • Media Research: Graduate students can tackle the most laborious research methods with speed and ease. For instance: content analysis with keyword searches, word counts of transcripts, examination of rhetoric, and identifying the frequency of mentions per topic.
  • Student Projects: In the department’s computer lab, students can log into SnapStream to view recordings, conduct searches, make clips or download transcripts. At Emerson, they record broadcasts on the campus cable channel, which features real student reporting.
  • Digital Archiving: Emerson’s SnapStream provides enough storage capacity for months of automated recording, making it convenient for stories to be studied across news cycles.
  • Real-Time News Analysis: Professors can pause and time-shift live TV to give students an unprecedented opportunity to examine news coverage as events unfold.

About Emerson College

Located in downtown Boston, Emerson College is the only comprehensive university in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to communication and the arts in a liberal arts context. The Department of Journalism provides its students with access to industry-leading technology, often before it’s even adopted in newsrooms, to ensure future career success. The College enrolls more than 3,000 full-time undergraduates and 900 full- and part-time graduate students in its School of the Arts and School of Communication.

The Results

Based out of Houston, SnapStream has been making TV/video distribution products for over a decade. Apart from Universities and K-12 schools, SnapStream’s diverse list of several hundred customers include: The US Senate, the Library Of Congress, broadcast networks such as ABC, CBS and NBC and news organizations like Politico.

Learn more about SnapStream at www.snapstream.com/university


University of Cincinatti

Making an Impact in Children's Media


Nancy_Jennings_-_Headshot.pngNancy Jennings
, of the University of Cincinnati on the impact of media and technology in the lives of children and their families.
I recently met with Nancy Jennings, who is doing some amazing things with her research into children’s media. Nancy directs the Children’s Education and Entertainment Research Lab, or CHEER, which is dedicated to improving the quality of children’s media through research studies and community projects. Nancy employs the use of SnapStream in the CHEER lab to record and analyze television content for use in her research.

Q: Let’s start at the beginning...what motivated you to focus your research on children’s media?

Nancy: This actually all started way back when I was an undergraduate and I had a passion for teaching and children’s education, plus, I knew I really loved writing. But I was at a conundrum; I didn’t know what to do when I was in college. I took a class with a communication professor, when she introduced herself, she said “I’m Ellen Wartella, and I study children’s media” and the lightbulb went off! “Perfect! That’s how I can combine my two interests of writing and children’s education”. I ran up to her after class, introduced myself and said “what do I do now?”

Q: That’s a great story and it’s obvious that you’re passionate about what you’re doing. Can you tell me more about the CHEER lab and how that came about? 

Nancy: We are a research lab that is oriented to getting quality research that can be applied to the children’s media industry. I have a passion for applied research, I don’t want it to just stay behind at the university, and I want to make an impact on society and in children’s media. So our focus has been thinking about, what kind of tools do people need to cope with and understand what’s going on with media and their kids. So, that’s everything from parenting tips and techniques to working with the kids and trying to get them to understand what media does. What is persuasive content, how to be safe online and different types of things.

Q: Tell me about your research process currently; walk me through how an idea or concept is processed. 

Nancy: I really try to look for problems/issues/concerns that people have with media use in their families. I look at a real life situation and try to figure out what kind of research solution can we develop to address that concern/question. Oftentimes that’s talking with parents, watching kids play with media, going to the library for observations or even talking to my own kids, the neighbors' kids, etc.

 

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Q: How is SnapStream useful in this process?

Nancy: SnapStream comes into the process particularly when we’re talking about content. If there are questions or concerns about advertising content, for instance “We saw this commercial and we couldn’t believe it was on-air”. I can use SnapStream as a way to capture that content and better understand it. I can take that SnapStream captured video and talk to kids about it, using qualitative and quantitative methods. We might show them a clip and ask them questions about it either open ended or close ended.

Q: What was the research process like before using SnapStream?

Nancy: It was very sad. I was still able to record things, but this was in the dark ages where we had VHS tapes. I was still able to get some video, but the processing of the video was much more complicated and oftentimes prohibited me from being able to do the type of research I wanted to do. It’s been very helpful in terms of having something much more manageable to work with.

Q: Can you tell me about a specific idea/project where SnapStream was instrumental?

Nancy: As part of the FCC regulations, broadcast stations need to air 3 hours of educational television per week in order to facilitate their licensing. Every October I record the new fall season of these educational shows that broadcasters are putting out there for kids. When I was doing it before, it was very complicated, I had lots of VCRs, I was using some at my house and some at a colleague’s house. The shows were being broadcast at the same time, 4 different broadcast channels, plus Nick, Disney and Cartoon Network...it was just...impossible. Because it was VHS, I then had to digitize it to be able to use it in the lab for analysis.

SnapStream allows me to be able to capture all that content very easily on one device. I can then go back and share that video with the researchers, the people that are identifying things and helping me count…”how many ads were there for this movie trailer?”, etc. It’s been incredibly helpful to capture everything together on one device and share the information.

Q: What would you say has been the most interesting/important/surprising discovery you’ve made throughout your research?

Nancy: I’ve been focusing a lot on children’s relationships with television and media characters. One of the things we’ve been trying to dig out is, “what are some of the implications of these relationships?” (we call them “parasocial relationships”) that the kids are developing with these media characters. We’re finding that trust is really important in these relationships, so we’re going to go back now to look at the content and find out why. So, kids to have trust in the media character is really important for the development of a friendship. Which is very important to them in their real world, too. So it’s interesting to see how they’re playing out in their real world and their media world.

Q: Outside of the CHEER lab, in what ways do you utilize SnapStream (if at all)?

Nancy: I have some students that have been able to use it for their own research projects, so I’ve started incorporating into my research methods class as well. We do content analysis, so I give them the opportunity to do their analysis on television shows with the SnapStream. I have a student this fall, who is actually going to be using it for his thesis.

Q: I understand you have done further research into violence in TV as well as gender studies in advertising, can you tell me a little more about this?

Nancy: There’s a show called the Fosters, a lesbian couple who have these children that they’re fostering in their home. So I’m interested in seeing how children react and respond to the representation of the two moms, from both the perspectives of a child who has a traditional mom and dad as well as from children that have two moms. So, is this representation real, how are they processing it?

The other area has a lot to do with advertising. What kind of things are being advertised to kids, particularly during these educational shows. We’re coming up (in 2017) on twenty years since the first implementation of the FCC rules, so I’m really interested in collecting data on what kind of educational shows have been going on since then.

Q: Are there any other specific areas of the children’s media you are interested in researching further?

Nancy: One of the interesting things I’ve been trying to figure out with the parasocial relationships is with the characters that look through the television, that break the fourth wall. Characters like Dora, that will actually turn to the screen and ask questions. What I’ve been curious about is doing screen capturing of kids, scanning to see where their eyes are at on the screen. I’m curious to see if they’re making eye contact, or looking at other things on the screen. I’d like to see how this can be used for script development as types of intervention for kids with autism that may or may not be able to make eye contact.

 


Q: Has SnapStream helped you to be innovative in your research (has it helped you to think of new research ideas or ways of researching that you hadn’t thought of previously)?

Nancy: The transcripts! Oh my god. The transcripts that are able to be pulled from the closed captioning have been incredibly helpful and it really made me think about what words are used in children’s television. One of the research findings (previous research) is about the speed, pace and types of words used in television shows and how these increase vocabulary. So, I think about how I can use these transcripts to document that.

I want to thank Nancy for taking the time to speak with me about her research and how she and the research team at the CHEER lab are utilizing SnapStream. The CHEER lab is doing some amazing work, and we can't wait to see how they utilize SnapStream in the future. For more information on Nancy Jennings, her research and the CHEER lab, check out the University of Cincinnati's page here.


Indiana University

SnapStream Expands Television Research Capabilities at Indiana University

Before SnapStream, associate professor Nicole Martins would have had to sort through about 800 TV episodes by hand to conduct her research.

Martins is working with University of Wisconsin journalism professor Karyn Riddle to update a 20-year-old study about how violence is portrayed in primetime television. Instead of having to coordinate all of the recordings and pass out DVDs to the 20 student coders and workers assisting her, she can record everything digitally through the television search technology SnapStream, brought to The Media School for faculty use this year.

“Having a DVR that not only records lots of things but allows me to upload those recordings to Box where I can share that with my coders and my student workers makes that a very attractive program and really easy to use,” Martins said.

This year, The Media School implemented the television search technology SnapStream to make it easier for faculty members to sort through television programs for research purposes, allowing them to efficiently capture what’s going on in television media.

I want to store everything to keep it. Whatever the latest hot topic of news is, it's important to keep an archive of that so 100 years from now people can know what it was like in 2017. — Media School archivist Josh Bennett

The program was tested in the summer, and now it’s available for all Media School faculty to use. Sharon Mayell works as the assistant director and research associate in The Media School’s Institute for Communication Research and coordinates recordings through SnapStream.

“It’s almost like a no-brainer because we’re a media school, and here we have this great service,” Mayell said.

It’s essentially the world’s largest DVR, said Mayell, but more powerful. Through SnapStream, one can record six simultaneous channels for up to 10 days straight.

The technology can be used to schedule recordings of anything from news programming to movies. Perhaps the most useful feature is its ability to capture a program’s closed captioning. Users can search for keywords in a program’s transcript and run a content analysis on exactly what they’re interested in. For example, somebody could use SnapStream to record multiple news channels’ coverage, search for “Black Lives Matter” in the transcription and compare the way each channel discusses the topic.

“I want to store everything to keep it,” Media School archivist Josh Bennett said. “Whatever the latest hot topic of news is, it's important to keep an archive of that so 100 years from now people can know what it was like in 2017.”

The technology to record news programs and other content digitally is a benefit from a teaching and research standpoint, because it provides a better understanding of how topics are covered.


Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston Rodeo Success Story

As a central part of its public relations effort, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo creates a daily collection of media mentions during its annual celebration of Western culture. As a result of getting an 8-tuner SnapStream, the Rodeo was able to:

  • Simplify how they record and edit media coverage
  • Gain direct access to TV on their PCs
  • Save time and effort for compiling clip reels

The Challenge

Any entertainment group needs to advertise, but with 1.8 million visitors over the course of four weeks each year, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is in a special category of public relations. Marketing this massive event requires a level of media awareness that surpasses the capabilities of most organizations: the show’s management must keep track of its media presence during a period when an entire city is talking about it. Before, during, and after the Rodeo’s yearly run, the event is featured on multiple local and national TV networks on a daily basis. “We go to a great effort to make it easy for the media to cover us,” says Managing AV Director James Davidson, and for the Rodeo that requires recording and editing large amounts of media coverage.

The Rodeo originally used a bank of VCRs for media monitoring. When this solution became too cumbersome and time-consuming, the VCR setup was replaced with a bank of standalone Digital Video Recorders (DVRs). Each unit recorded or displayed one channel at a time, and in order to copy a program from the recorder to a PC, it was necessary to first burn the program to DVD. The Rodeo’s AV staff would pull clips from each DVD and then recombine them into a clip reel, which would be rebroadcast over the Rodeo’s internal network during the event. While this solution did allow the Rodeo to record its TV appearances, the editing process was cumbersome. The major point of pain in the Rodeo’s news monitoring system was the process of creating clip reels: burning a DVD, ripping it onto an editing machine, and then burning the combined clips back to DVD was extremely inconvenient. The Rodeo wanted to streamline this process.

The Solution

Now, the 8-tuner Snapstream appliance provides automatic recording capability for up to 8 channels simultaneously, eliminating the need for standalone DVR boxes. The appliance has fault-tolerant storage for up to three weeks of regular recordings of both local and national news broadcasts on which the Rodeo might be mentioned. SnapStream records directly into MPEG-2 format on a Windows-based machine, and the included Web Player enables users to view and download videos over the Rodeo’s LAN. Recordings can now be transferred directly onto an editing machine, and the effort and time required for compiling clip reels has been reduced dramatically.

Houston Rodeo SnapStream Configuration

A DirecTV signal from the roof of the Reliant Center runs into the Rodeo’s A/V offices, where it is decoded by a bank of satellite boxes. The Rodeo runs the signals from these boxes into a modulator, which mixes them with the Rodeo’s closed-circuit channels to create a custom cable lineup. An office-wide RF feed of this lineup runs into the SnapStream appliance. Users on the editing PC, or any other networked PC, can retrieve recordings for viewing or stream live TV from the appliance, using the Snapstream Web Player.

‍About the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been part of Houston for 75 years. With 18,000 volunteers and more than 1.8 million visitors, it is one of the largest cultural events in Texas. Since the Show’s beginning in 1932, it has contributed more than $200 million to scholarships, research, endowments, calf scramble participants, junior show exhibitors, the Rodeo Institute for Teacher Excellence, and other educational and youth programs. Since 2002, the Houston Rodeo has been a co-tenant in the 1.9 million-square-foot Reliant Stadium, the largest and most expensive rodeo and football facility ever built.

About SnapStream

Based out of Houston, SnapStream has been helping organizations record tv for over a decade.

Apart from large entertainment operations like the Rodeo and the United Center in Chicago, our customer base include dozens of Sports teams from the NFL, NHL, MLS and the NBA.

SnapStream is also used by hundreds of others from many different industries including The Daily Show, the US Senate, New York Times and Buzzfeed.


Release Notes 21.3

Release Notes 21.3

Features

  • Shared Encoder Tuning: An encoder can support integrated tuning from multiple servers.

Bug Fixes

  • Master Nodes will not run any type of processor-intensive tasks, such as show squeezes for clip sharing
  • Proxy files generation will halt and recover at the same cadence as recordings (Moco and On-Prem)
  • The old Miscellaneous settings for integrated tuning have been removed in favor of supporting the new Shared Encoder Tuning

 

Need help? Have questions?

You can submit support a ticket or start a chat at https://support.snapstream.com/. We’re also available by phone at 877.696.3674 or +1.713.554.4560.


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