Dome Productions Supports TSN’s First Grey Cup Broadcast
By Carolyn Braff
TSN took over production duties for this year’s edition of the Grey Cup and, for the 96th playing of Canada’s biggest sporting event, prepared a week’s worth of programming leading up to Sunday night’s Canadian Football League championship game.
“I think we’re in a position to put on the best Grey Cup broadcast ever,” TSN VP of Production Mark Milliere said prior to the broadcast. “The venue that day is going to be loud and energetic, and our crew is the best in the business. I’m pretty excited about giving those people the game and the resources to do a production like this.”
Those resources include 30 cameras and 24 record sources, including a Skycam, roaming sideline Steadicam, and a roaming handheld that went into the stands to get POV shots from the fan standpoint.
“In terms of cameras, we might be up one camera in total cameras from last year, but the biggest thing that we’re adding is access,” Milliere said. “We worked with the league and teams throughout the season on this, and, as far as I know, it’s first time ever the Grey Cup broadcast will be going into the team locker rooms throughout the game.”
TSN taped each coach’s pregame speech, turning it around for use during the broadcast. The network also interviewed the coaches on their respective sidelines prior to kickoff, and a player was miked for sound throughout the game.
“We expect to get some really good material from that,” Milliere said.
The high-definition broadcast was supported by Dome Productions, with Trillium HD providing support for the game broadcast and Spirit HD supporting the 30 hours of pre-game coverage that aired Saturday and Sunday on TSN, RDS, and other CTV outlets.
Some of the programming, like coverage of the final team practices and walk-throughs, originated from the stadium, while other coverage was broadcast on location from Grey Cup Village at Place du Canada in downtown Montreal. TSN.ca complemented the television coverage with additional online content, including a live in-game chat, and now has all of TSN’s Grey Cup programming available for on-demand viewing.
“The biggest thing with TSN in its first Grey Cup is that it’s more than just the game on Sunday; it’s an entire week of programming,” Milliere said. “We’ve been here all week with SportsCentre, Off the Record, The Reporters; we’ve got a lot of programming laid out.”
Nearly 130 staff members were on the scene at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, where a crowd of 66,308 attended Sunday’s game. Although TSN had never before broadcast the Grey Cup, the venue was very familiar, since TSN had produced CFL games from Olympic Stadium as recently as a week prior to the championship game. The controlled dome environment made for few game-day surprises as Calgary won its sixth Grey Cup championship, 22-14 over the Montreal Alouettes.