M1 Sport Romania Finds an Audience For Motorsports Through Live Streaming

Wed, Mar 15, 2017

Motorsports is a growing hobby in Romania

Growing from the remnants of a defunct Communist government almost 30 years ago, Romania has come a long way in catching up to the rest of the world. Their economy is stronger than ever before and individual wealth is on the rise. One of the coolest products of this economic development is a rising interest in a hobby new to Romanian culture: motorsports.

“During the 40 years of Communism, the only place you can go to watch sports was the stadium. For people who owned TVs, you would only get 2 hours of TV a day. As a result of all that, the only sport people really watched in Romania is ‘fotbal’,” said Gabriel Chirica, founder of M1 Sport. “Now, people are starting to have money and other sports are growing strong in popularity. Motorsports is one of them.”

This newfound interest in racing is what allows organizations like M1 Sport and Federaţia Română de Automobilism Sportiv (FRAS) - Romania’s Nascar equivalent - to exist. M1 Sport, founded in 2014 by Gabriel, is an independent publisher of FRAS-related multimedia, taking professional photos for racing events in the country. Recently, Gabriel has turned M1 Sport in the direction of live streaming for showcasing their races. For his new streaming workflow, he trusts Teradek to get the best bang for his buck.

Gabriel Chirica (right) is founder of M1 Sport
Gabriel (right) and partner. Source: Autostiri.ro Facebook - Dan Strauti

 

At each race, Gabriel and his team find a central point on the track and place a Canon LEGRIA HF G25 camcorder on a tripod to film. The camcorder is connected to Teradek’s VidiU streaming encoder via HDMI to send a video feed directly to Facebook Live using Gabriel’s Android hotspot for Internet connection.

However, live streaming these events come with some inherent difficulties. As Gabriel explained, “High-quality 4G is very cheap in Romania, but that’s not the problem. Here, the cellular companies are not really invested in areas outside of the city where these races are held. As a result, I can only push my bitrate high enough to stream at 480p.”

Despite the weak connectivity though, Gabriel still finds great value in broadcasting the races live. In the final course of the Trafeul Opel (Opel Trophy) National Championships, the VidiU compressed high-quality video from his camera and produced a solid stream to Facebook Live at 1.5Mbps. While the VidiU is capable of streaming up to 1080p30 at 5.2Mbps, it’s designed to accommodate a variety of data connections.

Even though Gabriel was broadcasting in Standard Definition, his stream gathered over 20k views in 3 hours of continuous streaming. Viewers included people in the U.K, USA, Australia, and others around the world.


Gabriel’s tenacity towards live streaming FRAS racing events paints a much bigger picture. Despite facing difficulties with cellular signals, budget restraints and a relatively new and unknown sport, he is determined to promote auto racing in a country slowly branching out from its cultural roots. He represents a country shedding its tradition in sports entertainment and striving to find new interests and new audiences.

With Facebook Live being a major player in live video distribution, it has become M1 Sport’s CDN of choice for spreading the rise of this new sport. VidiU helps to bring that content to Facebook reliably and at an affordable price. With VidiU, Gabriel can share his passion to the world.

“The VidiU gives us the opportunity to live stream directly from the field with greater mobility and offers us a simple, reliable way to bring Romanian motorsports closer to the fans from our country and around the world.”