Wherever in the world you are watching the action from UEFA EURO 2020, the images you see are all transmitted from one place – UEFA's international broadcast centre (IBC) in the Netherlands.
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The IBC is the hub of all UEFA host broadcast operations, including the distribution of all the live feeds for all 51 EURO 2020 matches coming from the 11 stadiums, and is how the world watches the tournament via official TV and streaming platforms.
The IBC in numbers
Located just outside Amsterdam at the Expo Haarlemmermeer in Vijfhuizen, the IBC covers an area of 25,980 m² - roughly four football pitches!
Across the tournament, including support services, the overall IBC population will be 1,000 – which includes almost 300 UEFA host broadcast staff.
Everyone working at the IBC is required to follow strict COVID-19 restrictions, including following a zoning concept, in order to protect everybody working at the facility. UEFA also moved certain core IBC services – for example its editorial content services, quality control and broadcaster servicing teams - to its London and Nyon hubs, in order to deliver a more remote solution in the wake of the pandemic.
Eighteen feeds per match, including the Live Stadium Feed (LSF) – also known as the ‘world feed’ – are delivered to the IBC for distribution to UEFA’s broadcast partners, and images are then transmitted to homes across the globe as part of UEFA's state-of-the-art coverage. The IBC is also the temporary home to 32 of UEFA’s broadcast partners before and during the tournament.
In total, EURO 2020 matches are being shown by over 130 global broadcast partners, present in over 200 territories around the world, with an estimated total live event audience of 4.7 billion during the tournament. An average of 100 million live television viewers are expected to tune in to each match, with nearly 300 million expected to watch the final live. Throughout the tournament the UEFA host broadcast team is expected to produce a total of 3,500 hours of content, which will include both the live feeds from each match as well as content produced by UEFA’s 59 electronic news gathering (ENG) crews generating additional programming material from across Europe.
All this requires the use of more than 70,000km of cabling, with 150km of this located at the IBC itself. The longest single distance for a pre-existing fibre cable is between the stadium in Baku and the IBC, some 6,500km!
At the match
At each stadium, a minimum of 36 live match coverage cameras cover the action, with an additional eight cameras used to cover other events surrounding the game, such as team arrivals and fan reactions, ensuring a variety of supplementary content for all feeds.
All stadia have at least two pitch-view studios, with four for the opening match in Rome as well as the semi-finals and final in London. Between 85 and 130 broadcast commentary positions are also available at each stadium, and UEFA’s broadcast partners have access to a variety of other facilities at the venue – including tribune presentation platforms, pitchside presentation positions, fan arrival platforms and unilateral camera positions amongst others – in order to deliver a truly bespoke production at each match.