UEFA EURO 2008™ was the most demanding sponsoring project that was ever carried out by Telekom Austria and A1. Not only did it focus on the aspired image transfer of the one of the world’s largest sports event to the Telekom Austria and A1 brands, but particularly on the company’s extensive infrastructure, which it provided as the official supplier of telecommunications in Austria. This ranged from the transmission of the TV signals to the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Vienna, to equipping the media centers at the stadiums to supporting the organizer, EURO 2008 S.A., in its communications concerns. Telekom Austria and A1 mastered this vast challenge flawlessly with the full commitment of its entire project team for over two years with the experience of a market leader with its global network and product portfolio.
Television Images for the Whole World
The challenges for the telecommunications infrastructure were enormous. At the International Broadcast Center (IBC) all the television images from eight stadiums were delivered for transmission around the world. Additionally, besides the four stadiums in Austria, other locations such as the regional accrediting center in the Vienna Dusika Stadium and the Vienna headquarters of the EURO 2008 S.A. at the Hotel Hilton Stadtpark were connected to Telekom Austria’s fiber optic backbone. The systems had to withstand enormous loads during peak times such as during the final match. In Austria alone 2.2 million viewers watched the match between Austria and Germany, which was Austria’s most-viewed football match of all time. Altogether approximately 10,000 journalists were accredited at all the tournament venues in Austria and Switzerland, which provided for an enormous amount of data traffic.
In order to operate this media machine of superlatives, Telekom Austria equipped the four stadiums in Austria with extensive infrastructure, such as workplaces for 300 TV, 80 radio and 550 print journalists, 1,080 ISDN, 4,050 LAN and 1,730 WLAN access points and much more. During the quarter and semi-final matches and at the final roughly 900 radio and TV commentators were on the job on the media stands at the Vienna Ernst-Happel Stadium.
Rudolf Fischer, CEO of Telekom Austria TA AG, commented: “During the entire UEFA EURO 2008™ slightly over 2 petabytes of data were sent around the world. This is equal to just about three times the amount of data that it would take to digitalize the entire stock of books at the national library.” On peak days about 100 megabytes of data volume were transmitted per second. This posed no problems for the Telekom Austria systems, which were equipped for data amounts of this size. Rudolf Fischer: “It is especially positive that we did not have a single breakdown in our systems during the entire tournament and were 100 percent failure-free.”
22,000 Text Messages per Minute during Austria-Germany Match
Not only did the media infrastructure have to withstand numerous challenges, peak values were also reached with mobile phone networks. No wonder, fans from all over the world reported back home via mobile phone about the one of the world’s largest sports event. The network infrastructure was expanded especially for the football tournament and was able to meet demands. Impressive peak values were measured: At Ernst-Happel Stadium approximately 10,000 traffic minutes were conducted during the 15-minute half-time. The most text messages were sent during the match Austria against Germany, where they peaked at 22,000 per minute. This match also had the highest amount of voice and data traffic.
During the UEFA EURO 2008™ a five-digit number of mobile TV connections were accessed. The matches in which Austria was involved had peak values, the highest during the match Austria against Poland. Another trend: In the stadiums more text messages were sent than calls were made. Hannes Amtsreiter, CMO at Telekom Austria TA AG and CMO at mobilkom austria, said: “We are particularly happy that we could always offer enough connection capacity for the enormous amount of mobile phone traffic in both the stadiums and in the fan zones. We will continue to use the equipment provided in the course of optimizing the A1 network.”
Successful Burgtheater Event with 11,000 Guests
Outside of the stadiums Telekom Austria and A1 also transformed the Vienna Burgtheater into a high-tech football arena. In the middle of the official host city fan zone over 11,000 guests could enjoy the matches on an 8 by 4 meter large LED screen in picture-perfect HD quality. About 600 guests daily saw live performances by “Shaggy”, “The Fantastic Four” or “Joy Denalane”, audiences by the emperor, or the comedy show by “Stermann & Grissemann”. Among the prominent visitors were: Alexander Wrabetz, Toni Polster, Harti Weirather, Werner Fasslabend, Monika Langthaler, Stefan Ruzowitzky, Reinhold Lopatka, Eva and Christoph Dichand, Armin Assinger, Franz Klammer, Udo Jürgens, Niki Lauda, Peter Schröcksnadel, Christel Platini, Gunnar Prokop and many more.
Approximately 250 national and international media reported constantly from the Burgtheater and interviewed the celebrities. For example Swiss Television, Deutsche Welle, Phönix, ORF, ATV, Puls TV, Spiegel TV etc. / radio stations: ARD, Ö3, Radio Vienna, the New York Times, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Neue Züricher Zeitung, FAZ and all the Austrian media, with roughly 300 media reports in Austria alone. Images of the huge Telekom Austria football, which was mounted on top of the Burgtheater in the middle of the fan zone, went around the world.
Table Football for a Good Cause
The goals of UEFA EURO 2008™ were not limited to the playing field but also at the “Charity Football Tournament” at the Burgtheater. Celebrities played table football daily for a good cause; among them were Boris Nemsic, Ralf Zacherl, Franz Klammer, Alexander Wrabetz and Maria Rauch-Kallat. Within the ten minutes playing time, the participants donated 100 euros each from their own pockets for each goal made and each goal made against them for a good cause. 230 goals in 19 exciting table football matches generated proceeds of 46,000 euros for St. Anna Children's Cancer Research Institute.
“With our choice of the Burgtheater as the ‘Exclusive Viewing’ location we were able to target our extensive commitment as national supplier for telecommunications of the UEFA EURO 2008™ for marketing our services and for a positive image transfer,” said Ametsreiter.
Overall – European Football Championship Paid Off for Telekom Austria
According to Ametsreiter: “Our involvement in the UEFA EURO 2008™ completely fulfilled its purpose, also with respect to promoting our image and advertising value.” Telekom Austria’s media presence rose by 80 percent compared to May of this year, mobilkom austria/A1’s was even six times more. Almost 60 percent of the entire coverage was dominated by the activities at the Burgtheater and by the launch of mobile TV at mobilkom austria/A1. According to first analyses, media coverage for UEFA EURO 2008™ resulted in an advertising value equivalent of several million euros for Telekom Austria.
Innovation Surge through Subsequent Use of Infrastructure
The highly powerful infrastructure built by Telekom Austria for the EURO 2008™ will continue to be available to the Austrian economy. The expanded capacity and speeds of the fiber optic backbones, the IP ring and the international data connections will primarily benefit key account projects, further aonTV rollout and future, even more powerful, broadband technologies. “Altogether the high-performance infrastructure that was set up for UEFA EURO 2008™ will bring about a sustainable innovation surge for our customers and enough capacity for new, data-intensive services in the coming years,” said Fischer in conclusion.