Media Release, 15 April 2016

Telstra today announced that it has connected the Australian National Rugby League’s “Bunker”, a state-of-the-art centralised video referee and player analytics facility, thanks to significant investment in specialised media network connectivity at 20 major sporting stadiums in Australia and Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.

Based at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh, NSW and using Hawk-Eye Innovations video review technology, The Bunker is connected to the 21 sporting stadiums via Telstra’s Digital Video Network (DVN). The DVN platform carries the NRL’s mission-critical video content, from the game locations to The Bunker, providing match officials with real-time access to multiple camera angles and playback control for all reviewable decisions. An over the shoulder camera and workstation view of The Bunker is also sent back to the game venue, as well as being fed into the television and online program feeds, so fans can view the live decision making.

Unveiled in February, the NRL implemented The Bunker to deliver more accurate referee calls; shorten the time to reach each video referee call (from over a minute down to 30 seconds); improve the consistency in referee calls; and make the decision making process more transparent to the viewing public.

Todd Greenberg, CEO of the NRL, said the new centre would be “a game-changer for Rugby League.” In fact during the first three rounds of the 2016 season, decisions have been made on average 22 seconds faster than last year.

“Along with the operational benefits of decision-making being more accurate, efficient and consistent, we are also experiencing costs saving,” said Greenberg. “In previous seasons we had to send video referees to every game venue across Australia and New Zealand. The Bunker allows us to do everything from one location, saving on travel and associated costs.

“In a sport where there can be many stoppages in a game, being able to halve the time taken to review a decision and provide more accurate results makes the game a much more interesting product. We wanted to keep the play more fluid while making the decision process transparent to the audience. This makes the whole viewing experience better for fans, while also reducing additional resting time players get while video referee decisions are being made.”

Trevor Boal, Head of Telstra Broadcast Services, said: “Telstra has been working with the NRL for the last 16 years and we are excited to be helping them to use the latest in media technology, to concurrently improve the fan experience and the games’ efficiency.”

The connectivity via DVN is also available for other users of the 21 venues, both by the hour or by the day, and can also be combined with Telstra’s global media networks to extend its reach internationally.

“Telstra’s DVN is a sophisticated platform that provides advanced media asset and file transfer capabilities – which can support content acquisition, distribution and aggregation, in both domestic and international markets. The platform can manage multiple media and media data formats; can combine and prioritise video and data transfer streams; and also provide hitless switching and distribution – all with advanced path protection and security,” Mr. Boal concluded.