Student-Run Mobile Broadcast Solution Streams Athletics to ESPN3
When Rider decided to reevaluate their approach to digital broadcasting, they knew they wanted a turnkey solution that emphasized student engagement, enabling students to train on the equipment and run the production. Chris Foster, Assistant Athletic Director for Digital and New Media at Rider said he wanted “viewers at home that watch our broadcast to be able to turn on ESPN and watch a Duke, UNC basketball game and turn on ESPN3 and watch a Rider, Marist game and see no difference in quality, no difference in broadcast.”
Diversified, in collaboration with All-Star Sports Technologies, delivered a fully customized 20-foot trailer that would do just that. The mobile production unit includes a 24-input video switcher, a 32-input digital audio mixer and four 1080i HD-quality broadcast cameras and lenses. Even the outside of the trailer is completely wrapped to highlight the university’s brand, and three doors allow for quick and easy access to the control, rack room and trailer at large. Utilizing lightweight aluminum, the trailer can be pulled by any large SUV or pickup truck making it easy to transport to any event. The interior floor accommodates different weather scenarios. There is a dual-zone, commercial HVAC system to help prevent leaks and keep the rack room cool, but the students comfortable. The cables can be found directly behind the monitor wall and are easy to access, which is invaluable in a live broadcast environment.
Rider students are learning and using the technology from day one—operating and breaking down broadcast cameras, a Ross Carbonite switcher, graphics packages from ESPN, and replay operations through an Avid PlayMaker system. At the men’s and women’s MAC (Mid-American Conference) basketball championships in Albany at Times Union Center, they shot 14 games in 3 days with a 13-member crew of Bronc staff.
The Rider team is now capable of live broadcasting up to six camera shoots with live play-by-play and color commentary on ESPN digital networks. Foster noted, “Us having the Diversified trailer is instrumental in our relationship with ESPN.” The success of the trailer has helped Rider to attract partners, sponsors, externals and new students.