salle avec mur d'écrans TV de contrôle pour Paris 2024

Published on 05 July 2024

How Orange delivers live coverage from the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Orange has been selected by Olympic Broadcasting Services to be the sole service provider to deliver live coverage from Paris 2024. This means Orange will connect the International Broadcast Center, the cornerstone of broadcasting the images from this extraordinary event. Pierre-Louis de Guillebon, CEO of Orange Events, explains Orange’s role and challenges, both a source of pride and remarkable commitment for Orange employees.

portrait rond Pierre Louis de Guillebon

Pierre-Louis de Guillebon,
CEO of Orange Events

What are the Olympic Broadcasting Services and the International Broadcast Center (IBC)?

The International Broadcast Centre (IBC) is the temporary home for Olympic Broadcasting Services and the media rights-holders during each Games for all footage coming from the 35 competition venues. The venue, located at Le Bourget, is operated by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), which will provide live coverage of the Games for nearly 4 billion viewers around the world. The OBS was established by the International Olympic Committee in 2001 as the permanent host broadcaster of the Olympic Games, but the first central broadcasting service, independent from any domestic broadcaster, actually launched back in Barcelona 1992. 

The OBS signs agreements with any television broadcaster wishing to broadcast images from the Games. Some channels such as France Télévision produce their own content, while other channels retransmit the generic international stream.

What key role will Orange play? 

We’ll be delivering all the action from the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games from each of the venues, whether in Paris, Marseille, Lille, Nantes, Bordeaux... or even Tahiti. We’re also responsible for connecting the images coming from the IBC. 

Two broadcasting techniques are possible from the IBC, depending on the means available to the official broadcasters. Some channels transmit the international satellite stream produced by the OBS containing English-language commentaries. Broadcasters with greater resources transmit the image streams they produce via fiber.

 

 

How do you and your expert teams ensure you meet your commitments?

In the eyes of our customer, the OBS, and the professionals we serve through it, the key word is network resilience. For such an event, we must always have something to show. We have to anticipate all scenarios, from fiber outages to attacks or climate crises. It is a highly complex operation due to the volume of data involved in transmitting several tens of thousands of hours of broadcasting, and the requirement for precise synchronization, to the second. 

In terms of viewers, what best encapsulates our mission is the sheer number of cameras deployed For example, for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, nearly 500 cameras will be used (compared to the usual 60), 200 of which will be on board the ships. For the kite surfing events in Marseille, cameras on the athletes’ equipment will broadcast immersive and extraordinary footage from the water. 

From a technical and technological point of view, what makes Paris 2024 so special? 

We deployed a new private 5G network for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Marseille Marina, Stade de France, Bercy, and Arena 92. This network enables us to transmit feeds from a large number of cameras without depending on or affecting the public network. It also serves the dash/body cams. On-site spectators will also enjoy an optimal connection via their mobiles and tablets. We know from experience that many might be watching what’s happening at other events than the ones they are attending.

For Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we have also created a “push-to-talk” communication function that works via a priority 4G network so that organizers, especially within the IBC, can turn classic mobiles into walkie-talkies without any geographical limits, with perfect sound quality and the ability to send messages and videos. This last feature is very useful for sharing images of an incident that is not easy to describe in worlds. There will be around 13,000 devices available within the IBC.

femme victorieuse sur un stade d'athlétisme

What are you most proud of? 

Supporting this event is a great source of pride in itself, as it is so important and so significant. It requires a variety of skills at the highest level. What I also like most is to see how our 1,000 Orange employees are so committed, skilled and enthusiastic. It is a technological adventure and above all a human adventure. There’s a team at each venue, coordinating with our central team, who are all perfect examples of initiative, organization, and enterprise. Finally, in an increasingly complicated world, it is an honor to contribute to the world’s most iconic sporting event, which is an invitation to and celebration of top-level performance. It requires us to stay focused and humble to the end.