Doha's sports venues, Al Khor and Al Wakrah have been fitted out with permanent broadcast facilities that include a new studio, commentary boxes and a TV room for outside broadcast vehicles to connect into. The US $2million installation was completed early this year by UK-based systems integrator, Gearhouse Broadcast.
"These are both 20-year-old stadia, which we upgraded in line with all new stadia being built in Qatar," commented Eamonn Dowdall, managing director of Gearhouse Broadcast. "The facilities were completely outdated, so the whole stadiums were being modernised, not just the broadcast side of things."
Gearhouse put in place a permanent cable installation to allow an outside broadcast van to connect their production vehicles to the complete infrastructure of the stadium. The same was done with the new studio, commentary boxes and the TV Room. "The stadiums are now permanently cabled to make television sports coverage easy. Installation ensures Outside Broadcast companies can just plug in and go."
One of the challenges of working on such a project is coordination, explains Dowdall. "At the start, the existing infrastructure of cable trays, ducting and power was very old. A huge amount of planning from the architects and consultants, to the people running stadiums and us was involved to ascertain the most efficient way to deliver a permanent broadcast solution."
Dowdall confirmed that the systems at the new facilities are scalable and built to support both SD and HD formats. "We have put in permanent cable infrastructure that allows broadcasters to scale production needs as required. The solution gives complete flexibility whether the broadcast is for a local football match or an international event," he added.