NZ Cricket’s new cloud-based workflows suit their broadcasters and sponsors aiming to strengthen audience engagement, and fans looking for more interaction at venues.

AWS Imagen NZC team

Cricket, perhaps the most English of sports, is gaining worldwide fanbase, especially now that the sport will return to the Summer Games in 2028 for the first time since 1900. Well-known in Australia, India, the West Indies and South Africa, cricket also has a passionate following among New Zealanders.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) is responsible for running the nation’s two main cricket teams, BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS, under 19s international teams, and domestic men’s and women’s cricket. NZC has grown the sport through club and community programming, and its attention to working with players, fans, broadcasters and commercial partners.

Imagen and AWS

Broadcasters and sponsors are now aiming to strengthen audience engagement and build the entertainment value of live cricket match productions, and fans and sporting venues are looking for more interaction at venues. In response, NZC began establishing a workflow for storing, managing, editing and redistributing live and archived video in the cloud, based on the Live Connect feature on Imagen’s media management SaaS platform.

Live Connect is developed for rights owners and broadcasters who need these services carried out with a dedicated layer of security and reliability. It can handle multiple live feeds, via SRT or RTMP, and its functions can be automated. Other features on Imagen’s platform include access control, a branded UI, analytics and distribution. 

Live Connect uses AWS Elemental MediaConnect IP transport service for live video as its match capture backbone. It transports video from an on-premises or other MediaConnect source and sends it to multiple destinations. AWS Elemental MediaLive is used for transcoding and encoding the live video for broadcast and streaming.

One of the initial project goals was to make the captured content readily accessible to NZC, for any application – for instance, live match or highlights coverage, promotional materials or as in-venue content. Another priority was securing third-party partner access to specific content for broadcasters and commercial partners. 

“We wanted an off-the-shelf system that we get could get up and running quickly, and Imagen Live Connect had a straightforward interface and set of features that made that possible,” said Dev Patel, NZC Commercial Project Lead. “We were attracted to its use of an AWS service, MediaConnect, which already has security and ease of use features, backup links and the cost efficiency required to distribute live SRT feeds to multiple end points. We also knew MediaLive comes with transcoding capabilities to send an RTMP feed to end points where necessary.” 

AWS Imagen NZC community

NZC's Community programming is an important element of fan engagement.


Working with Imagen and AWS, NZC established a workflow that meets their current requirements and will be able to scale. Cameras at each game typically deliver baseband feeds from the NZC venue or broadcaster to an OB truck, where the signals are encoded to an SRT stream. AWS Elemental MediaConnect then picks up the SRT feed, and prepares multiple versions to brand the feed for various demands.

Imagen runs live capture servers in the AWS Australasia region, local to new Zealand, which archive the live high-bitrate SRT feed while transcoding a web-friendly HLS version at the same time. This HLS version is for authorised users to watch or take clips from, in real time. With appropriate permissions, operators can mark in and out points on the live playback, and then trigger a workflow to receive the high-resolution version of their selected clip. 

Clips can be cut into a highlight edit using Imagen Live Connect, even while a match is taking place, and made available to post on social media channels. Historical match footage can also be uploaded as IMF video files to NZC’s Amazon S3 bucket, from which Imagen can pull the file into the archive for cutting into the new edit.

Further Reach

With support for SRT built into Imagen Live Connect, NZC’s sales team can now sell rights overseas in areas where they might not have previously been able to. Dev Patel noted, “Compared to satellite transmission, taking a live SRT feed through Live Connect is much more cost effective for broadcasters with smaller budgets, so we’ve been able to extend our reach into territories where the cost of satellite previously prevented fan access. Imagen’s download control process also lets us set limits on the content our partners can access and download, which gives us a sense of security.” 

Prior to Imagen, NZC didn’t have an archive for its own footage, but stored all its content in a data warehouse, which made clipping footage time consuming. NZC and its broadcasters and DRM partners had to locate and download an entire match from an Amazon S3 bucket, then watch it to identify the moment for a desired clip. With AWS and Imagen, NZC and its partners can now quickly find and download specific footage on demand.

AWS Imagen NZC rekognition

Amaon Rekognition

“Using Imagen Live Connect and AWS, our content now goes straight to our archive without delay, and we can check or clip it immediately, which is where the real commercialisation advantage happens. The Imagen ‘Search’ feature also makes grabbing clips much faster,” Dev Patel said. Live Connect’s search engine includes tools for granular metadata making it possible to find content almost instantly. “We’ve only just begun to explore what’s possible, and look forward to moving more of our older game footage over to the system.”  

As NZC continues to explore other Imagen Live Connect features, it’s also experimenting with machine learning and AI, aiming to increase value for sponsors and rights holders. So far, they have been been able to use the service to identify when a player, sponsor or specific match terminology are mentioned, with near 100 percent accuracy.  

Imagen is currently working with AWS to integrate Amazon Rekognition into its SaaS. Rekognition adds pre-trained or customizable computer vision APIs to applications – users don’t need to build machine learning models and infrastructure first. It will mean that users like NZC can automate the creation of smart clip collections, and editors can use the clip collections to build a coherent narrative without scrubbing through hours of an event to find the best moments. It’s one of various other developments to come.