CONCACAF Aims for Elite Level of Consistency During Gold Cup
Host broadcaster calls the event ‘the largest soccer production in North America this year’
As the CONCACAF Gold Cup rolls into the Knockout Stage, beginning with the quarterfinals on Wednesday, most of the remaining eight teams (including tournament favorites Mexico and the U.S.) are upgrading their squads by calling in some of their elite players to make a run at the trophy.
Not CONCACAF. It has been bringing its A game since the first whistle, broadcasting 25 games out of 14 venues over 19 days to more than 100 territories across the globe.
“This is the largest soccer production in North America this year,” says Oscar Sanchez, director, broadcast operations/executive producer, CONCACAF. “We are trying to achieve the highest quality possible, with consistency across the board. Our goal is that the fans will be watching the same quality of production in the opening round as they would in a quarterfinal.”
CONCACAF is backing up that promise, deploying 23 cameras per match regardless of the match or the venue. In fact, for the first time in the history of the tournament, SkyCam is being used on every single match. Each match is also covered by a collection of super-slo-mos, POVs, GoPros, RF cameras, Steadicams, and a JittaCam.
CONCACAF has even called on the assistance of Host Broadcasting Services (HBS), FIFA’s production group that oversees production of all major soccer-tournament world feeds, including the World Cup. Two of the sport’s most elite directors, Grant Philips (who has directed numerous World Cup matches and last summer’s Copa America Centenario final) and John Watts (director on every World Cup since 2002), are pairing with some of the most talented U.S., Canadian, and Jamaican talent. That’s a positive sign of growth that Sanchez is particularly proud of.
“More and more, we are finding crews [in North America] with a lot of soccer skills,” he says. “That’s great news for anyone involved in soccer in this country. We are really proud that we have a large North American crew in a good mix with talent from Europe.”
CONCACAF entrusted Orlando-based Broadcast Service Group, to assist on the productions and to coordinate relationships with vendors, including SkyCam, Lyon video, and 3G Wireless for RF support. In addition, CONCACAF is leveraging Encompass Digital Media’s Broadcast Operations Center in Atlanta for distribution to its lengthy list of domestic media partners. Encompass is quality-controlling all signals and creates three feeds out of a game: a world feed with English commentary, a clean feed provided for North American customers, and an additional-content feed offering moments of the game that are not part of the regular game coverage, such as additional super-slo-mo angles, crowd shots, etc.
In the compound, everything is uplinked from the venue, using Mobile Satellite Connection. Lyon Video is exclusive production provider for the tournament, with Lyon 10, Lyon 12, and Lyon 14 traveling the U.S. to cover all the venues.
“It’s a great showcase for the confederation and a great soccer showcase for this country,” says Sanchez. “We showed last year [during Copa America Centenario] and are showing again this year that we are ready to produce soccer at the highest level.”