SVG Year in Review: December

December offers a chance to reflect back on another year gone by. Each year, the sports production community does just that in the New York Hilton at SVG’s League Technology Summit.

LTS 2012 was highlighted by a keynote conversation between ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer and former Fox Sports Media Group vice chairman Ed Goren conducted by veteran ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap. Discussions at LTS included video highlights as speakers reflected on some of their technological highlights from years gone by. Directors analyzed how the latest gear enhancements help them grant the fan greater access; tech execs dissected how those technologies can make broadcasters better storytellers; producers worked through how to strike a balance while using those tools; engineering pros broke down how next-generation remote production workflows can change how broadcasters staff their events; and truck executives agreed that while the market has stabilized, it is a consolidating business. Day two was wrapped up by a presentation by YouTube’s head of North American sports Frank Golding who dismissed rumors of the platform bidding on sports rights and presented best ways for leagues and teams to utilize the distribution service. LTS also hosted meetings for the DTV Audio Group and the Women’s Sports Media Initiative.

The Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame honored eight of the industry’s most respected and beloved icons during an emotional ceremony at the New York Hilton Hotel on Dec. 11. The Hall of Fame’s sixth class of inductees is made up of ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer, audio pioneer Ray Dolby, famed NFL commentator Frank Gifford, CBS and Fox Sports production visionary executive Ed Goren, trailblazing NBC cameraman Cory Leible, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, former NBC operations and engineering guru Jack Weir, and iconic broadcaster Jack Whitaker.

In a year where high-speed cameras took center stage in the sports production market, the Vision Research Phantom v642 camera supplied by Inertia Unlimited made its mixed-martial-arts debut during UFC on Fox 5. The “Fox Phantom Cam” was positioned on a robotic mount on the truss frame near the octagon, was fitted with a 200mm f/1.8 Canon lens, and ran at speeds up to 3,000 frames per second.

ESPN and media-arts–technology school Full Sail University officially opened the new iteration of “Full Sail University Sports Lab Powered by ESPN.” The launch was on the two-year anniversary of the initial Sports Lab joint venture, which also was located on the university’s Winter Park, FL, campus.

On the business side, Harris Corporation reached an agreement to sell Broadcast Communications to an affiliate of The Gores Group, LLC for $225 million. The price includes $160 million in cash at closing, a $15 million subordinated promissory note and an earn out of up to $50 million based on future performance.

The CALM Act, which requires broadcast, cable, satellite, and other video providers to keep the volume of commercials at a level consistent with regular TV programming, went into full effect on Dec. 13.

SVG’s Sports Production Safety Group capped off an outstanding year. More than 5,000 industry professionals have now signed on for online training courses designed to create a safer sports-production working environment for everyone at a remote. And to cap off the year, the Group – formed with the help of SVG three years ago and comprising health and safety experts from CBS, Fox, NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Co., Turner, New England Sports Network, and Broadcast Sports Interactive – also created a new, safer design for camera baskets that have recently been installed in New Orleans’s Superdome.

To close out 2012, SVG published its annual Remote Sports Production Engineering Report and the Remote Sports Production Roundtable. Both features recap a strong 2012 and forecast a profitable 2013 to come.

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