Telecast Outfitted Fenway with Fiber Solutions for Winter Classic
Telecast Fiber Systems provided a suite of advanced fiber optic transport solutions for the this year’s NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The Telecast gear supplied an integral fiber optic link for delivering live video feeds to an off-site location for outside broadcast (OB) vehicles, 500 yards from the Fenway Park venue in Boston.
The faceoff between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Boston Bruins was televised by NBC and carried by numerous other national and local media outlets. Staging a hockey game at Fenway created a unique logistical challenge for the broadcasters, since the area just outside the stadium usually designated for broadcast trucks was occupied by ice-making equipment. Besides adding an additional 500 yards to the distance from the ballpark’s cross-connect A/V access point, the offsite truck location was separated from the stadium by busy Van Ness Street.
“Regular copper coax cable was not appropriate, not only because the distance would have reduced the signal quality, but we would have run into safety and permitting issues if we tried to fly heavy copper cable across Van Ness Street,” says Jim Thistle, president of Thistle Communications, the NHL’s contracted production equipment supplier. “It was a job for fiber, and was ideally suited to the reliability and high-quality results we’ve come to expect from Telecast systems. We’re always impressed with how reliable the systems are and how well they handle weather extremes — a very important factor here in Boston.””
Thistle and Ed Jacobs, president of Interstate Rentals, another production equipment provider, worked together to devise a solution using lightweight fiber optic tactical cable to provide an overhead connection between the OB trucks and the cross-connect point inside Fenway. Telecast’s Diamondback II and Adder II systems were used for SD video and analog audio transport to the truck compound. In addition, Telecast’s Viper II and Rattler modular transmit/receive units provided HD/SDI video capabilities. NBC, ESPN, Comcast, and several local Boston and Philadelphia stations all took advantage of the fiber link to access live shots from the game.