With average match audiences of over 100 million and total TV views of 5.2 billion, EURO 2020 was one of the most popular events in television history.
Setting digital records
At the same time the digital coverage of the championship also set new records. This year’s championship generated a total of 7.5 billion interactions of which 2 billion originated from the union’s own portals and web apps - a 250% increase in traffic compared to the 2016 Euro event.
A spokesman for the union said: "Digitally, we have seen incredible engagement during the tournament, and we are extremely satisfied with the performance of our own platforms … It shows that our content offer has been extremely well received by fans.”
Digital delivery from the cloud
Behind the digital coverage was a cloud-based portal powered by Eidosmedia’s Cobalt delivery platform. Since 2018, the union has been using the platform to manage relations with a range of audiences from fans and journalists to sponsors and other stakeholders.
As well as a rich selection of information and media about teams and fixtures, the most important role of the portal is to carry live coverage of all matches in the union’s competitions. For many matches which are not televised, this is the only way for their fans to follow the action in real time.
Multilingual live commentary
As befits its European status, the union provides its live coverage in at least seven languages (including Russian). Some events may also be reported in one or more of another 14 languages if local interest requires.
The format used is a live-blogging framework, accessed by fans at one of the union’s seven national websites or through one of its highly rated mobile apps for Android and iOS.
Real-time photo shots
As well as live commentary, the blog carries photo shots in real time from photographers in the stadium. The delay between the shot being taken and its appearance in the blog live stream is often less than 30 seconds.
Union staff access the publishing platform from any location using Eidosmedia’s family of Swing mobile applications. A journalist at the stadium enters the ‘master’ blog text (usually in English) by using the Live Swing blogging app. It is immediately available to the seven or more translators who may be at any location. The translators use Swing’s side-by-side editing space to create the language variant.
The translated post is published immediately in the live stream on the appropriate national website, together with real-time photo shots from the stadium and other content, such as social media posts, that can be inserted with a simple point and click action. The result is a rich live stream of content that keeps fans across Europe up to date with the action as it unfolds.
Agility and scalability in the cloud
Naturally, this complex multi-lingual, multi-location operation came under particular pressure during this year’s Euros. At its peak, a total editorial staff of around 250 were creating over 3000 blogs a month, carrying more than 100 K individual posts at a rate of up to ten posts a second.
The union’s portal is hosted in a cloud deployment provided by Amazon Web Services and managed remotely by Eidosmedia technical staff. This allows capacity to be ramped up and down depending on demand. The auto-scaling capacity is essential to coping with surges in traffic, which may vary by a factor of ten or more during matches.
A high-performance hub
In addition to the remote live-blogging streams, the portal also draws on content from a number of external picture and video asset-management systems. Seamless integration with these media resources is essential.
Throughout the championship, the Eidosmedia-AWS platform functioned as a high-performance content hub. Coping with unprecedented levels of demand, it brought together multiple content streams from different locations in real time to provide a live match experience for fans across the world.
The union's spokesman commented: ”… Our digital set-up is amazing!"