Thursday, 26 June 2008

Communication breakdown during semi-final Euro 2008

Yesterday, during the second half of the semi-final Germany - Turkey (european football/soccer tournament called Euro 2008), the live feed from the host broadcaster went down at the Vienna's International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and most viewers missed about 15-18 minutes of the match.
What happened?

It's interesting to read the official statement from UEFA:

26-06-2008 communiqué aux médias n 095
Statement on the television interruption during UEFA 2008 semi-final, Germany Turkey
At a press conference held this morning in Vienna, UEFA Media Technologies SA CEO, Alexandre Fourtoy, explained the problems encountered yesterday at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), precipitated by a violent electrical storm that triggered a power outage and a loss of image for a number of minutes during the second half of the first UEFA EURO 2008 semi-final in Basel.
"The IBC of Vienna is using the power grid of the city of Vienna, and the provider of our power solution here has also installed, on top of it, a protection system which is designed to detect cuts of power and to switch automatically to a back-up power on site, which is provided by generators. Yesterday we have been affected during the storm in Vienna by three micro-cuts of less than 1 millisecond, but this millisecond is enough to cause our Master Control Room to re-boot and that takes several minutes, and this is why the signal was off air. The protection system has been defective in detecting the cuts, to switch to the back-up power.
You should know that we have selected the best providers to build-up our IBC and the power system - the providers which have built up the IBC and the power system for the World Cup 2006 - and this power has been fully tested according to industry procedure before the event and it was working perfectly well up until yesterday.
What is important to know is for tonight (the second Semi-Final Russia - Spain in Vienna) and for the Final, we have switched the power of the IBC to the fully independent generator power which has also a back up on its own, because what we want to do is to avoid any external factor affecting the power and therefore the transmission of the signal.
The issue of yesterday was purely linked to electricity, nothing to do with transmission, nothing to do with our partners Telekom Austria and Swisscom, and what i'd like to add as well is that we are, of course, extremely sorry for everyone watching television yesterday for the minutes they have missed. We have however been re-feeding the missing material to all broadcasters afterwards."

It's also interesting to read Reuters:

UEFA's director of communications William Gaillard told a news conference: "This is not normal summer weather for central Europe. It was exceptional and there is no forecast of a repeat."

Pictures were lost for two separate six-minute spells and UEFA then decided to manually take the system down, causing another six-minute break, to switch to the back-up power supply.

Swiss TV was able to show continuous pictures as there was a separate fibre-optic feed from the Basel Stadium. Other broadcasters including Germany's ZDF, used the Swiss pictures with their own commentators, slightly off the pace, tagged on.

Were broadcasters (such as german ZDF) allowed to use pictures from Swiss tv?

From Times:

There is also uncertainty whether it was a breach of contract when broadcasters took pictures from Swiss television, which was reported to be unaffected, as a result of the loss.

"I don't know exactly the terms of the contracts, I don't think there is an obligation to take the signal from Vienna because broadcasters have several capacities to manage a signal," Alexandre Fourtoy, chief executive officer of Uefa Media Technologies, said.

One thing is having an obligation to take the signal from a place, another thing is not having an obligation and using other tv's effort without any compensation.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Much rumour about nothing

above: the last 12 months of AS Roma stocks

UPDATE about globalization of football (soccer) ownership post

On 1st May i wrote:

"There are several rumours that George Soros (hungarian-born US speculator and philanthropist) is going to buy Roma ; Steven Horowitz of Inner Circle Sports has been recently seen in Rome more than once, therefore someone does want to buy the club. Some newspapers wrote Soros offered about 210 million Euro for 67% of shares, which is 2,37 Euro per shares, more than double the current price. Will it be enough for the family that now owns the club?"

I was wrong because on 3rd June MF-Dow Jones (one news agency for italian stock exchange) wrote that Michael Vachon [director of communications at Soros Fund Management (SFM). Mr. Vachon serves as spokesperson for the Fund and for Mr. Soros personally] told them that Soros isn't interested about buying that team.
It might be usefull to ask some questions:
1) Was it true that George Soros (before June) wanted to buy As Roma?
If not, who started the rumour? If it was true, what went wrong?
2) Why don't the current owners (Sensi family) explain what happened in the past months?
3) The current owners need to pay back (reports talk about 370 mil of euro) some banks. Do they know how to do that without selling the team?
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