ESPN’s 2017 College Football Efforts Begin Down Under With Help From NEP Australia
Sydney’s Allianz Stadium hosts Rice vs. Stanford this weekend
ESPN’s 2017-18 slate of college-football action kicks off this weekend from Australia: Allianz Stadium in Sydney is hosting a matchup between Rice and Stanford, airing tomorrow at 10 p.m. ET. For ESPN Director of Remote Operations John LaChance and the production team, starting the season on the other side of the world presents plenty of challenges, but the good news is that ESPN will, for the second straight year, partner with NEP and Fox Sports Australia to make the production come together smoothly.
“Getting all of the necessary parties and vendors together in advance for logistics and technical planning is certainly not an easy chore,” says LaChance. “Now that we are onsite, we are blending a very talented group of local technicians with our core traveling crew and providing each with a crash course of the other’s terminology, rules of the sport, and all the unique aspects surrounding American college football.”
For example, ESPN brought over two camera operators from the U.S. who will work with eight local operators. Six technicians also made the trip, as did a core production team of about 12 people, including talent, iso-replay operators, and the front-bench team.
“We will spend some time showing the Australian operators footage from American football games, like isos of independent cameras, so that they understand what the coverage is,” adds LaChance. “So we drill down with the locals, and they are very engaged.”
NEP Australia is providing HD4 for coverage. The truck measures 15 meters long, can expand, and houses a Sony MVS8000x production switcher, an Evertz router, Calrec Artemis audio console, and up to 10 EVS replay positions.
One element that is standard for U.S. football coverage that won’t be used? A sideline cart: there simply aren’t any in Australia.
“We had to build some temporary platforms and additional platforms for low-end-zone positions,” says LaChance.
Transmission home will make use of a fiber and satellite path.
“You’re always one back-hoe construction project away from losing the fiber path,” LaChance points out. “So we feel very comfortable having a satellite uplink.”
After the game, it’s back home to the U.S. and time to get ready for the first big college football game in the U.S.: Florida State vs. Alabama on Sept. 2 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.