NBC Sports Is Taking Its NHL Studio Show on the Road More Often (Aided by At-Home Production)

NEWBERT remote flypack will be used as many as 10 times on Wednesday nights this season

The puck drops on a new NHL season at NBC Sports tonight when reigning champion Washington Capitals raise their Stanley Cup banner on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET before hosting the Boston Bruins. It’s the first of a record 109 regular-season games that NBC Sports will broadcast to national audiences.

The Peacock has some plans to shake things up this hockey season, including the rebranding of its Wednesday Night Rivalry to Wednesday Night Hockey. The goal is to free itself of that rivalry format and open up the opportunity to showcase many of the league’s exciting young new stars.

As part of that effort, NBC Sports’ operations team is planning to take its NHL Live studio show on the road more often — as many as 10 Wednesdays throughout the campaign. Executive Producer Sam Flood feels that bringing its studio show onsite drives fan engagement and elevates the stature of a game on that night.

“During the Stanley Cup Finals, when the studio show was in Washington and in Las Vegas, it created atmosphere, a feel that you wanted to be a part of it,” says Flood. “It captured more fans, and more fans captured that sense of urgency, sense of excitement, and sense of being part of something. Inclusiveness that makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger as an assembled group than individually at home sometimes can be a huge advantage. And we like it. We’re going to push hard with it and have some really neat ideas to celebrate each market in a unique way.”

To pull off these live onsite studio shows, NBC Sports will tap its at-home production workflows and talent to reduce the gear and personnel that need to travel to the site. The network-ops team will deploy its NEWBERT in-house remote-controlled production flypack at each site. With NEWBERT, a control room at NBC Sports’ home in Stamford, CT, can serve as the control room, with camera feeds and audio sources fed directly from the site.

A modular and scalable solution, NEWBERT fits into 3RU and contains an Evertz EMR64 router with 64 inputs and outs. It can connect directly to Stamford’s massive Evertz Magnum switcher.

On the game-production front, much will be the same as last season. The typical Wednesday Night Hockey game will feature 15 cameras, including a pair of Sony HDC-4300’s set to shoot in super-slow-motion and two Grass Valley robotics shooting at 6X frame rate. An NBC Sports rep says that the network may dabble in some use of a Jita jib and RefCams throughout the season. On the audio side, there will be opportunities to mike players. Tonight, it’s expected that Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will be wearing a mic.

NHL on NBC games are produced in NEP’s ND5 and ND6 mobile production units. A games are produced by Matt Marvin and directed by Charlie Dammeyer.

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