Boston Goes Frozen for Red Bull Crashed Ice at Fenway Park
Skycam, digital streaming, iconic venue highlighted the high-contact contest
Over the past four months, New England has been the center of the sports world, with the Boston Red Sox’ World Series win against the Dodgers in late October and the Patriots’ sluggish triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in early February. A championship wasn’t up for grabs against a West Coast foe when legendary Fenway Park hosted a new-age event on Feb. 8-9, but Red Bull Media House was determined that Red Bull Crashed Ice would make a big splash in Beantown.
“As all Red Bull events do, the action and the event look spoke for themselves,” says World Feed Director Terry Linger, having worked his first Red Bull event. “The women and men were colorful characters, and I was blown away by their skill and athleticism.”
From Dingers to Downhill
In the past, Red Bull Crashed Ice has ventured to international locales (France, Finland, Canada, and Japan) and was held domestically in downtown St. Paul, MN, for seven straight winters from 2012 to ’18. For the first time in the sport’s 18-year history, the competition graced the Eastern seaboard of the U.S.
The biggest challenge for those involved was transforming one of Major League Baseball’s oldest stadiums into a hybrid skiing/speed-skating course. The 2,000-ft. track (stretching from the outfield to home plate) required 9,000 pieces of steel, 124,000 gallons of water, and 107,000 sq. ft. of flooring to construct the difficult elements: sudden drops, inclines, curves, and, the biggest feat, an enormous downhill ramp beginning at the top of the right-field bleachers. To fit all the necessary pieces into a ballpark that is more than a century old, Red Bull needed to rely on the organization that has dealt with the playing surface the most.
“For logistics, Fenway was the best,” Linger says “[Boston Red Sox] VP, Marketing and Broadcasting,] Colin Burch has seen and done it all. “[The organization provided us with] announce booths and a functioning TV compound.”
The Linear/Digital Mix
Fans who were not in attendance had two options for tuning in to watch 175 skaters from 22 countries battle on the frozen surface. For live coverage across the globe, Red Bull Media House deployed a crew of more than 130 to stream the two-day schedule on Red Bull TV, Facebook, and Twitch. An encore presentation was televised on Fox Sports 1 in the U.S. and on CBC in Canada.
With a sport that comes with incidental contact, possible collisions, and split-second decisions, the production emphasized safety by using a Skycam to steer clear of any disturbance and provide sweeping aerial shots of the chaos. In addition to coverage from above, 23 other cameras as well as compound mics along the outside rim of the course helped immerse fans in the broadcast.
After the ice thawed and the massive track was dismantled, another Red Bull Crashed Ice production was jotted down on the résumé. With a non-traditional venue, an energized crowd, and another opportunity to showcase all that downhill ice skating has to offer, the production displayed the true essence of the sport.
“I would have liked to have one more camera to roam the crowd for reactions,” Linger says. “These competitors belong in palaces of sports as much as the folks making $200 million do. [These athletes] have the same desire, the same passion, and the same skill. It’s just with a bit more danger.”