Aircast: Changing the landscape of in-venue streaming, from down under to LA

Date: 1-Mar-2024
Aircast is the world’s fastest in-venue, real time video and audio streaming technology for sporting events. The app has a latency of only 0.3 seconds meaning what is happening on the ground is broadcast to users almost instantaneously. The current average in-venue video streaming latency amongst competitors in this space is 54 seconds.
Aircast: Changing the landscape of in-venue streaming, from down under to LA

As the world's first in-venue real-time broadcast app, Aircast has been designed with simplicity and functionality in mind. It's easy to navigate, making it suitable for anyone to use, whether they log into Aircast’s app or an of its customised white label apps which can be fully branded depending on the sporting competition, team or venue.

Craig Horobin, CEO and Founder of Aircast was a 2018 participant in the Australian Sporting Technologies Network (ASTN) – Global Sports Innovation Centre Pre-Accelerator Program, that facilitates early-stage mentoring for sportstech businesses. Fast forward five years and Aircast is leading the game of in-venue streaming and is now working closely with Comcast NBC Universal, one of the biggest media companies in the world to roll out its technology across the United States.

Live coverage isn’t live if it’s lagging

There’s nothing like attending a live sporting event with the roar of the crowd; however, live coverage comes in at a close second with its high-definition visuals, play-by-play commentary and access from every angle.

“Due to stream latency (or lag), so called ‘live’ coverage hasn’t successfully been able to genuinely transfer in real time. Historically there’s always been a delay of about 45 seconds to a minute, so what you see and hear on your device doesn’t match up with what’s occurring on the ground. Until now, if fans wanted to add another layer to their in-venue experience with their hand-held device, they’ve had to choose between one or the other. We’ve been able to change that with Aircast,” said Craig Horobin, CEO and founder, Aircast.

Observing fan and event management behaviour sparked a game-changing idea

Horobin has over 25 years of experience in delivering broadcast and technology solutions – working on large scale events including FIFA World Cups here in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Korea, the London Olympics, and also Commonwealth Games in Australia, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

“Working across the Sydney Olympics for Telstra was the launchpad for me. For many years, my passion has revolved around delivering broadcast and technology solutions to help successfully deliver large events for major venues and support broadcast and media stakeholders across the globe,” said Horobin.

The idea for Aircast was first sparked in 2015, when Horobin was working at AAMI Park in Melbourne for the Asia Football Confederation Asian Cup. His role was to deliver and design the technology and broadcast network for the event, including all the commentary back of house.

“My main stakeholders were media and broadcast personnel. I would see them running between workrooms, mix zones, and they would keep missing key moments. I’d observe fans looking up to the big screens in the hope they’d see replays of these key moments but when those responsible for deciding which segments to project again hadn’t seen them, they wouldn’t be re-shown. This meant that spectators would often miss small yet significant intricacies that were taking place on the field,” said Horobin.

Horobin’s solution was to find a way to access video, audio and data in real time, straight to a mobile device anywhere in the venue.

Bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together

Founded in 2017, there were several iterations of the Aircast app over many years to work out how to get the host broadcast services directly from production, to within the venue straight to a mobile device.

"We set out to enable spectators to access exactly what was happening on the ground so they would never miss a moment on the field. Aircast allows individuals to move around, go buy food or drink, be at the opposite end of the field from the play and still have front row seats. It enables the best viewpoints, whether behind the goals or close-ups for the finer details, coupled with compelling expert commentary for added context and colour,” said Horobin.

Aircast first validated its app at the Women’s National Basketball Leaue (WNBL) in 2019. Fans at the Deakin Melbourne Boomers Vs Townsville Fire match got a sneak-peek at the future of live events when they were treated to a free sample of ground-breaking Australian in-game technology using Aircast.

Horobin understood multi-layer networks, the protocols and how to use them. He began to learn about phone operating systems and the different broadcast formats to ascertain how streaming providers could transfer the relevant data straight to phones.

“We needed to engage broadcasters and get their views on the best distribution method. We needed to learn how to decode signals into a usable, friendly, and fast stream. We also had to understand how the network works to facilitate fast streaming. The key ingredient to our success was figuring out how to build a media player that had the ability to read the data at lightning speed and display it directly to the customer literally a split second later,” said Horobin.

Bringing a great idea to market with the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN)

In 2018 Horobin was selected by ASTN board members Craig Hill and Martin Schlegel to take part in the ASTN-GSIC Pre-Accelerator Program, an early-stage mentoring program with a core focus to support start-up entrepreneurs to validate their on or off-field sportstech business idea against competitors, vendors and Venture Capitalists.

“When both Craig and Martin saw the product I had built, they were like ‘okay, that's certainly got resonance and we believe that that's something that we can certainly help you with’,” said Horobin.

“The ASTN team has been fantastic. Craig Hill was a brilliant support through the whole process. His guidance gave me an understanding of how to go about promoting and building the business to be successful,” added Horobin.

Comcast NBC Universal’s start-up sportstech accelerator

2023 Aircast was selected from a pool of 920 applicants across 40 countries, as one of 10 startups for the Comcast NBC Universal’s sportstech accelerator program in the United States.

The Comcast NBC Universal Sportstech Accelerator Program provides collaboration with experts from Comcast, NBC RSN, Sky and Boomtown to prepare startups for accelerated commercial success.

“The Accelerator was incredibly valuable for our startup journey, and we will continue to work with Comcast Labs and NBC further to refine the Aircast technology,” said Horobin.

The Comcast NBC Universal Sportstech Accelerator Program has opened many doors for Aircast. NBC is also the largest sponsor of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics and they’ve handpicked Aircast as their cutting-edge tech streamer.

“Comcast NBC wants to supercharge their own digital assets and we’re working with the team to put Aircast into over 100+ venues in the US. We’re also thrilled that Aircast has the opportunity to gain major brand awareness in the US for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. It’s unbelievable to think about where we have come from and all the work we’ve done to get to this point – to enable our technology to power a large-scale event like this,” said Horobin.

The future for Aircast

Horobin believes that 20 years from now, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is going to have a big impact and there will be a lot more integration in what we see at home.

This Aussie business is well on its way to becoming a household name in the US; however, it still has its sights set on making a name for itself in Australia. “We're also working closely with one of the main broadcasters here in Australia, talking through how our technology can be used and how it can engage a new fanbase that enabled end users to become the Director of their own experience” said Horobin.

Any advice for other startups? “I think our teams’ passion, belief and enthusiasm has gone us where we are today. And to be honest, if you've got those three attributes, that's half the problem already solved,” he said.

“I encourage other startups to talk to organisations like ASTN to get an understanding of what’s out there and where you fit into the bigger picture. And never give up, you never know where it’s all going to take you,” concluded Horobin.

For more information on Aircast visit

Listen to Craig Horobin’s interview on Sports Cutting Edge.

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