MARKHAM, ONTARIO--Digital Rapids announced that The HEAT Group, owners of the Miami HEAT National Basketball Association (NBA) team and operators of Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena, are using Digital Rapids' StreamZ encoding system to speed the production of high-quality live and on-demand video content for the HEAT.com website and internal production workflows. Most recently, StreamZ was used for live streaming of events leading up to and following the signings of high-profile free agent players Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
The Broadcast Services department at The HEAT Group produces live event coverage and pre-packaged content for all departments in the organization, including advertising, marketing, internal training, the HEAT.com website, and shows airing on NBA TV and regional television. The group also produces content such as half-time features that are used within live game broadcasts on SunSports.
Online video is a key focus for the production group, as the team leverages it to support the HEAT brand, engage existing fans and grow the team's fan base globally. Content from the team's in-arena HEATV broadcast, special features and more are encoded through StreamZ into the formats required for on-demand Web viewing. StreamZ is also used for live Web streaming of special events and announcements. The StreamZ system is also used in an automated workflow to transcode library footage provided by NBA Entertainment into The HEAT Group's preferred editing format for subsequent production needs.
Finding their existing encoding solution slow and inefficient, The HEAT Group chose StreamZ for its exceptional performance, high quality and the versatility to meet their broad and growing digital media needs. StreamZ was supplied to The HEAT Group by reseller CIS Group.
"By enabling us to efficiently create high-quality material for HEAT.com with very fast turnaround, the Digital Rapids StreamZ system helps us engage and grow our fan base, and that has a direct impact on our revenues," said Ed Filomia, senior director of broadcast services for The HEAT Group. "We're able to get video content from the arena and events onto the website faster than ever before, while the versatility of the system lowers our equipment and operational costs by supporting our live and on-demand production needs in one platform."
The importance of streaming video as an integral part of the team's marketing strategy was underscored at the recent start of the NBA's 2010 free agency period. As part of a campaign to encourage HEAT star Wade to re-sign with the team, HEAT mascot Burnie took up residence on an exterior ledge of the arena for a week. To fuel publicity and fan interest in the campaign, StreamZ was used to provide a live stream of Burnie's exploits 24-hours per day through the HEAT.com website. The StreamZ system was also used for live streaming of the welcoming party and press conference marking the signings of Wade and his new superstar teammates James and Bosh.
"The worldwide appetite for online sports content continues to grow exponentially, and fans are looking to the Web for depth beyond just the games themselves. Online video has become an indispensible tool for major leagues and individual teams to expand their fan base globally," said Chris Krasinkiewicz, vice president of sales at Digital Rapids Corporation. "A large selection of timely content and great quality are key factors in keeping fans engaged and coming back regularly to a team or league's website. StreamZ enables the quick turnaround and exceptional visual quality that are needed to consistently achieve these goals. We're excited that The HEAT Group has chosen StreamZ for their diverse encoding needs across not only their website, but also their file-based production workflows."