Of the many costs that go into broadcasting games for a professional sports franchise, those involved with sending people and equipment back and forth to road games has to be among the highest. Not only do you have to send broadcasters but it usually requires mobile trucks full of satellite equipment, production equipment and a full staff to operation it all.
NESN is partnering with IP-based live video service provider LiveU to streamline that entire process for Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins road games without sending any equipment, cameras or trucks to the games.
NESN plans to use multiple LU500 portable transmission units to pilot live “@Home Productions” on the majority of Red Sox home and road spring training Games in 2016 as part of a new innovation and business model for sports coverage.
NESN collaborated with LiveU technicians to develop a system that synchronizes multiple LU500 portable cellular transmission units. The production team at NESN’s control room in Watertown, Massachusetts is able to switch between cameras with no significant latency, eliminating the need for traditional production and transmission methods as well as replacing newer, Internet-based processes. NESN will continue to use the high-end HD broadcast cameras and telephoto lenses that are commonplace in professional sports.
NESN will still send broadcasters on the road but the audio will be send directly to NESN’s studios in Watertown instead of to a truck outside the stadium. The Massachusetts studio will be able to send graphics and replays right back to them in the booth.
NESN tried out the process last spring during Red Sox Grapefruit League games and during minor league baseball AAA Red Sox broadcasts from Pawtucket.
So long as the effectiveness of the broadcast remains the same, the only difference should be to NESN’s bottom line, which is exactly what they need in order to compete in a market dominated by corporations and national companies.