The International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Warsaw, which will act as the focal point and hub for all broadcast operations at UEFA EURO 2012, has been officially opened by UEFA President Michel Platini, Poland's sports minister Joanna Mucha and the deputy mayor of Warsaw, Jacek Wojciechowicz.
Located at the Warszawskie Centrum EXPO XXI in Warsaw, on the western edge of the city centre, the IBC's master control room will receive television signals from all eight stadiums in Poland and Ukraine via fibre networks, and distribute them to broadcast partners, and thus, on to the millions of fans watching around the world.
In total, UEFA will bring nine multilateral feeds from the 32 match coverage cameras back to the IBC. These can be booked by broadcast partners and then used within their programming. Broadcast partners will also be sending their own unilateral feeds to Warsaw before distributing them to their respective home countries and audiences.
The IBC now starts fulfilling its role as the heart and soul of broadcast operations, from the very first moments of the opening ceremony until the last second of the final and the subsequent presentation of the Henri Delaunay Cup to the new European champions.
When the tournament gets under way, the IBC will be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure that every second of action is made available to football fans around the world.
"It is true to say that there is no football without television, and that television also needs football," said Michel Platini, addressing staff at the opening ceremony. "Thanks to you, many people in the world are going to see some fabulous football events, and it is for this reason that I would like to thank the Polish government, the city of Warsaw, and all the team who have worked for the creation of the IBC. I am sure that we are going to have a fine EURO."
With approximately 14,000 square metres of floor space over four halls, the IBC in Warsaw is around 30% larger than the IBC for UEFA EURO 2008. It houses everything from TV studios, edit suites, production areas and offices to shops, restaurants and other ancillary services – enabling staff to work comfortably and efficiently throughout the tournament.
"Today we have another important day before the championships begin," said Joanna Mucha. "We are in a place in which, in three days, there will be feeds and signals which show how Poland and Ukraine have prepared. I am sure that the IBC's location, technical facilities and excellent staff will guarantee perfect quality."
All facilities for the production of the multilateral signal are housed in Hall 1 along with the UEFA.com, UEFA ICT, Broadcaster Servicing offices and support desks. The 44 broadcast partners with premises at the IBC occupy part of Hall 1, along with Halls 3 and 4.
Construction of the main facilities such as the master control room and commentary switching centre, along with the broadcast partner and other multilateral areas – which were overseen by UEFA – began in March 2012 and were largely completed when the first broadcast partners arrived on 14 May.
At the end of the tournament, the temporary structures within the IBC will be dismantled within three weeks, with the wood used to construct the facilities and the 322 doors being re-used, most probably to build family homes.
"EURO 2012 is a great celebration of sport, and thanks to your work, people worldwide will be able to see this event," said Jacek Wojciechowicz. "I am very pleased that the IBC is located in Warsaw, and we have done everything to make sure that it fulfills expectations."
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