Sinclair Broadcast Group: Bally Sports
Preparing for the Future with New, IP-based Media Operations Center to Support RSNs
After successfully rebranding 21 Fox RSNs acquired from Disney to Bally Sports—which alone was among the largest undertakings in the history of the RSN business—Sinclair Broadcast Group faced the added challenge of building a backend technical infrastructure to support the needs of its 19 Bally Sports RSNs as well as YES Network and Marquee Sports Network. Partnering with Encompass Digital Media to house the new media operations center in its Atlanta HQ, Sinclair turned to Diversified to help design and build the 25,000-sq.-ft., native end-to-end SMPTE ST 2110 facility.
While the logistical challenges of transitioning so many RSNs to a new IP-based media operations center in just a few short months would be complex under normal circumstances, conducting this multi-network, multi-venue transformation across the country during a pandemic presented larger and unprecedented hurdles. Still, Diversified was able to leverage talent from its Intelligent Technology, Media Production, Media Workflow and Emerging Technology teams to provide a well-rounded solution from all angles.
The primary operating area is the multichannel monitoring room, where operators monitor feeds coming into master control. Around the outside of this room are 52 live-event pods (40 fully equipped, with room to expand to 12 more in the future). Inside the central equipment room are 84 racks of gear, a much smaller footprint than what would have been needed for HD-SDI, including 104 playout servers (10 UHD) controlled by ADC automation and orchestration and leveraging a red and blue spine-and-leaf IP network. A software-defined media platform manages 71 channels of IP decoding and 24 channels of encoding with video control. Among other key gear are 52 network processors for multiformat conversion and multiviewers; two fully redundant C-band transmission chains with encoders, muxes and control; primary PTP sync with backup; and compliance recording.
Diversified pushed hard to have an organized, efficient project approach that allowed the team to identify blockers that could prevent them from meeting critical deadlines. The company’s approach and collaboration with its vendor partners and clients made this project a resounding success for all.