NESN To Utilize Bonded-Cellular @Home Model to Produce Live Red Sox Spring Training Games

NESN has announced that it will produce the majority of Boston Red Sox 2016 spring training games by sending multiple cameras feeding back to NESN’s Boston-area studios via bonded cellular technology rather than deploying a mobile unit and satellite/fiber connection on-site. NESN plans to use multiple LiveU LU500 portable transmission units to pilot live “@Home Productions” on the majority of Red Sox home and road spring training Games in 2016 as part of the new production model.

At the SVG Summit in New York City on Tuesday, Joseph Maar, NESN’s VP of Programming & Production/Executive Producer, first announced plans for use of the new @home-production model during Red Sox spring training:

NESN and LiveU successfully developed and tested this new means of remote event coverage last spring during Red Sox Grapefruit League games in Florida and during the summer from minor league baseball AAA Red Sox games in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

NESN collaborated with LiveU technicians to develop a system that synchronizes multiple LU500 portable cellular transmission units. The production team at NESN’s control room in Watertown, Massachusetts is able to switch between cameras with no significant latency, eliminating the need for traditional production and transmission methods as well as replacing newer, Internet-based processes. NESN will continue to use the high-end HD broadcast cameras and telephoto lenses that are commonplace in professional sports.

NESN’s game announcers will continue to call the game from the ballparks’ broadcasting booths, as all the audio from the venues will be imbedded with the LiveU signals sent back to NESN’s studios. The set-up will include two options for return feeds, including one via LiveU that will allow announcers at the ballparks to see graphics and replays from the Watertown control room.

“We’ve been in continuous dialog with LiveU to develop a more agile method of covering sports from venues not equipped to easily accommodate live productions using traditional methods of connectivity,” says Maar. “LiveU is the standard bearer for live wireless transmission and has proven to be both innovative and attentive to our needs for producing live sporting events from alternative venues such as Grapefruit League and minor league stadiums.”

The LiveU solution for NESN is centered on the LU500, a lightweight, mobile field acquisition unit. The LU500 offers up to 13 simultaneous network links including 6 to 8 internal bonded cellular connections, which provide uninterrupted broadcast quality streaming while capturing content in fast-changing sporting events. The LU500 can be 100% controlled remotely from any computer using the LiveU Central management platform, making it ideal for at-home sports production. In addition each LU500 used by NESN is equipped with wireless LAN technology, providing additional bandwidth when LAN connectivity is available in-venue, regardless of its location in the park.

“At-home production isn’t just the wave of the future, it’s here today. And NESN is one of the first broadcasters to utilize at-home production in professional sports,” said Mike Savello, LiveU’s Vice President of Sales. “Bringing back multiple camera feeds wirelessly as independent IP video streams from any sports venue to NESN’s studios, all
synched together, is what LiveU specializes in. We’re excited to be partnering with NESN on this new workflow for live sports production.”

Maar-Summit