NEP Deploys to Veracruz for Central American and Caribbean Games
Last November, nearly 5,700 athletes representing 31 countries descended on Veracruz, Mexico, competing in 36 sports. This international sports event may sound like the Olympic Games but is instead a truly regional event, unique to the Central American and Caribbean region.
The quadrennial Central American and Caribbean Games began in 1924 as a way to make the region’s athletes more competitive on the international stage. This year’s edition, which took place Nov. 14-30, marked the 22nd time the Games have been played.
It also marked a sizeable production for Clair Broadcast, Abaculi Media, and NEP. The Central American and Caribbean Games were managed by host broadcaster Clair Broadcast, which delivered more than 600 hours of HD TV throughout the event, and produced and distributed by Abaculi Media.
NEP deployed Corplex Platinum triple-expando HD mobile unit, Corplex Mercury 58-ft. support unit, Trio Blues 53-ft. support unit, and an ESU unit for signal transmission and distribution, all of which were parked in the Games’ International Broadcast Center, located in Veracruz.
“It was an amazing feat for Veracruz; it was an amazing collaboration and a team effort between all of the personnel there,” says Senior Technical Producer Kevin Nicholson. “No one entity was the shining star, everyone came together in a group effort to make this happen, and the tenacity of each and every one of the personnel that we hired prevailed… Everyone did a great job.”
Scott Primm, who served as the technical manager within the IBC, described the NEP’s role in Veracruz. “We’re responsible directly for what is referred to as ‘the quad,’ the four independent venues directly in the area where we are,” he explained during the Games. “We’re using our units here, locally within the quad, for soccer, baseball, swimming and diving, and gymnastics. We are also supporting beach volleyball, tae kwon do and boxing, and basketball.”
NEP deployed six to eight cameras for each event within the quad, for a total of 34 cameras. However, the Central American and Caribbean Games extended beyond the quad to nearby Xalapa and Cordoba, requiring Clair Broadcast, Abaculi Media, and NEP to figure out how to bring feeds back to Veracruz.
Nicholson explained that, because the fiber optic networks in the area were limited, the team had to make a choice between IP-based workflow and satellite. Opting for the latter, the team deployed four 36 megahertz transponders — two main, two backup — to provide support to cycling and track and field in Xalapa and volleyball in Cordoba, among other events. Signals from Xalapa and Cordoba — up to eight events at a time — were muxed to Veracruz via C-band satellite, where graphics were added prior to transmission to rightsholders around the world.
Although the positioning of NEP’s trucks within the IBC required a street closure or two and some heavy winds resulted in temporary satellite interruption and minor damage, the event was an overwhelming success for all parties involved. NEP’s crew comprised more than 80 staffers from the U.S. and Mexico, with the American staffers heading up the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Mexican staffers producing, directing, and operating the cameras for the various events.
In addition to Nicholson and Primm, Kevin Sanford served as executive producer for the Games. Reflecting on the Games’ success, Nicholson and Primm praised the support of Clair Broadcast, Aberculi Media, and NEP, as well as the local staffers who worked tirelessly throughout the Games. “It is amazing to watch the people of Mexico,” said Primm. “The people are amazingly polite, they’re supportive, they’ve been nothing but gracious to all of us. It was just a very positive experience for me.”