Sinclair Broadcast Group: Tennis Channel
Serving Up Full SMPTE 2110 IP-Based Infrastructure as Tennis Channel Moves to New Facility
Building a new facility—especially in the middle of a pandemic—certainly has its own set of challenges but add in a complete infrastructure upgrade, and it could be a “break point” for any transition. When the Tennis Channel wanted to move to Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Santa Monica operations center, the network partnered with Diversified to help deliver a cutting-edge network solution leveraging a full SMPTE 2110 IP infrastructure.
“This is a state-of-the-art facility,” says Bob Whyley, SVP, production/executive producer, Tennis Channel. “Where we were [vs.] where we are now is black and white. Our first live show was a month after [the building opened], and we never would’ve been able to do that in our old building.”
To bring the new system to life by December 2021, it was critical for the Diversified team to work in perfect stride with over a dozen vendors and partners, as well as various technical groups from Tennis Channel and Sinclair.
Working against an aggressive timeline, Diversified’s team of engineers, subject matter experts and installation technicians, stood up a total of 5 studios, 3 production control rooms, 11 edit suites, 4 voice over rooms, 2 audio control rooms, a master control room, an executive control room and a central equipment room containing 24 fully populated equipment racks.
“We’re honored that Sinclair and Tennis Channel put their trust in our team and we were prepared to move mountains to hit our goal on-air date,” says Eugene Tuzkov, project manager at Diversified. “This was a significant achievement against a timeline which some thought to be potentially unrealistic considering the complexity of this new technology.”
“Rolling out new technology is naturally always accompanied with challenges, and then add supply chain issues, new and constantly evolving Covid protocols, staffing and various other issues due to the pandemic, and we had our work cut out for us,” adds Chris Smart, senior design engineer at Diversified. “Success here would not have been possible without a strong team and great support from our vendors.”
At the heart of the new design is an Imagine Communications IP-based infrastructure featuring Selenio Network Processors, Versio playout platform and Magellan SDN Orchestrator. Supporting the Imagine system on the production side is EVS for replay capabilities, Calrec for audio, graphics by VizRT and Grass Valley production control switchers. Mission critical monitor walls across the facility are powered by Embrionix, while AVID and Telestream complete the cast of major 2110 players.
While the new facility is a milestone of technological advancement for the Tennis Channel, they remain focused on continuing to improve, adding enhanced workflows for an increasing number of remote productions.