As the flag carrier for the host nation, Qatar Airways has been instrumental in boosting the country’s reach related to the FIFA World Cup tournament. Now the airline has confirmed passengers will be able to watch the matches live while in flight.
A partnership between Panasonic Avionics, Inmarsat, and IMG’s Sport24 will deliver the content to the planes, showing the value of cooperation between multiple parties to deliver an improved passenger experience.
GX Aviation continues to lead the way for Qatar Airways, powering the connectivity for its first live television offering, which also coincides with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. We are delighted to share this special milestone with them, alongside our partner Panasonic Avionics.– William Huot-Marchand, Inmarsat Aviation’s Senior Vice President of Inflight Connectivity
Panasonic’s live television service holds the exclusive rights to distribute Sport24 in flight; this deal expanded last year to allow PAC to deliver the content outside of its direct internet service portfolio. The company will now provide that feed to Qatar Airways via Inmarsat’s GX Aviation satellite network.
Inmarsat’s GX Aviation offers the high-speed, reliable inflight broadband required to stream Sport 24, with seamless global coverage across Qatar Airways’ flight routes. This solution already powers Qatar Airways’ Super Wi-Fi offering, enabling passengers to scroll social media, stream movies and TV, play games and browse the web, as well as watch live sports, offering the richest onboard experience.
Our Live Television service brings a whole new dimension to in-flight engagement, and enables passengers to catch unmissable sporting moments in the skies. We are honored to be continuing our longstanding partnership with Qatar Airways by bringing this innovation to their cabins, in partnership with Inmarsat.– Andrew Mohr, Vice President of Digital Solutions for Panasonic Avionics
To support the World Cup streaming, Inmarsat will multicast the Sport24 content across its satellites. This is a more efficient mechanism, akin to traditional broadcasting where a single stream of data can be collected by multiple receivers (aircraft) in the coverage area. Once the signal makes it on to the plane (or ship or any other place it is being picked up) it is redistributed via the web portal to individual passenger devices.
Inmarsat’s team also handled the necessary updates to the capture portal, allowing the Sport 24 World Cup content to be accessed without otherwise subscribing to an inflight internet plan.
In a mildly amusing twist, those travelers will be some of the only ones able to watch games live in a “public” part of Qatar and drink alcohol. In a last-minute shift the country has banned the sale of alcohol inside stadiums, matching most of the rest of the country. Drinks remain available in-flight, however, and the planes are registered in Qatar.
Also, pay no mind to the renderings being distributed showing the matches on the embedded IFE screens. That’s not happening on these planes.
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