2017-18 College Basketball Preview: BTN, Pac-12 Networks, Stadium Ready To Tip New Season
Starting off in a big way, the networks rely on at-home workflow for the long haul
The NCAA Men’s Basketball season begins in epic fashion on Friday with 158 Division I games scheduled nationwide and a weekend that will feature some special season-opening classics.
Trends across the industry point to more and more games being produced either by the networks using at-home workflows or by the schools themselves, but the roads will still be plenty active with production trucks zipping across the country to give college-hoops fans their fill this winter.
Let’s preview what some of the networks have in store.
Big Ten Network (BTN) storms into the new year with even deeper integration with parent company Fox Sports and will produce 181 games across BTN and its streaming service, BTN Plus.
In addition to an increased number of at-home productions, BTN will deploy Mobile TV Group’s 25HDX for marquee regular-season games.
The highlight of this upcoming season, however, will surely be the network’s first-ever 4K productions, which it will produce from Game Creek Video’s Yogi A and B units for the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden in March.
Out west, Pac-12 Networks (P12N) knows how to throw a season-opening party. This year, Full Court Friday will feature 10 live game productions across seven channels — and that doesn’t count Saturday’s broadcast of UCLA vs. George Tech in Shanghai, which the conference is helping ESPN broadcast.
Pac-12 Networks also plans to make a little bit of history this year, producing more women’s basketball games than ever before. There will be a record 111 women’s basketball games in addition to 152 men’s basketball games this season. An addition, come March, however, P12N will produce 10 games during the 2018 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament and eight during the men’s tourney.
Though rolling major trucks from vendors like NEP for some of its biggest games of the year, P12N will naturally rely heavily on its widely respected at-home production workflow.
The newest linear sports network, Stadium, will carry approximately 450 men’s basketball games across its various platforms, including 95 on its Chicago-based linear network. With its digital-native streaming service, Stadium has existing deals with the Atlantic 10, Conference USA, Mountain West, Patriot League, and West Coast Conference.
According to Stadium SVP, Properties, Adam Anshell, the recently launched network aims to find its sea legs this year and will not look to rely on any at-home production work. Instead, all productions will be done onsite by Stadium crews with a wide variety of trucks ranging in size from full 52-ft. expandos to smaller Sprinter vans or by campus-based school production teams.
To meet its growing live-production demands, Stadium is also expanding its talent base, bringing on board Mike Newsham and Kat Lisek as remote coordinating producers. Abby Mossing joins Sarah Casper and Justin Malone on the remote-operations team.