MLS 2019 Preview: Fox Sports Aims To Provide Viewers With Unique Perspectives From the Pitch
Emphasis on specialty cameras is part of continuing tech innovation
At the MLS Cup last year, Fox Sports became the first U.S. broadcaster to deploy corner-flag cameras, and viewers can expect continued innovation with new perspectives throughout its 2019 MLS Campaign. Fox’s MLS camera complement will once again feature a full arsenal of specialty cameras, including a mid-field orbiter camera, net cameras, pole cameras, and the return of corner-flag cameras on some matches.
“As a company that believes in new technology, we are always looking for ways to push the envelope when it comes to giving the audience something new on the field or how it is presented without taking away from the game,” says Amy Burns, operations production coordinator, Fox Sports. “We work closely with Major League Soccer and our vendors in pursuing ways to incorporate new technology into our broadcast. Working closely with the MLS and venders allows us real-time feedback.”
Fox Sports’ 2019 MLS slate features 34 regular-season matches, postseason matches, and the All-Star Game. Four matches are broadcast on Fox, and FS1 will take 30 regular-season matches and the All-Star Game.
As was the case last year, a large portion of Fox Sports’ MLS games will be “Home Run Productions.” For these at-home–production shows, Fox will send its MLS announcers and one reporter to the stadium and produce the live coverage from the Fox Sports production facility in Charlotte, NC. A dedicated Game Creek Video mobile unit will be onsite with minimal crew and will transmit camera/audio feeds to the Charlotte control room.
“We’ve streamlined the onsite setup process by working closely with our vendor, Game Creek Video, and designed a mobile unit with our Fox Home Run Production technology built-in, making it a smooth setup from show to show,” says Burns. “Game Creek Video has been a great partner for Fox and our MLS games. We work closely with them on improving our workflow throughout the season.”
Fox’s 10-camera complement is expected to increase for the 2019 MLS All-Star Game in Orlando on July 31. The network expects to once again leverage the event as a test bed for innovation by exploring other new specialty cameras.
Burns notes, “We continue to evaluate and implement how player-perspective cameras and sound can be integrated into our broadcasts to bring the soccer fan closer to the passion of the game.”
Fox Sports coverage kicks off on Saturday, March 2 with a doubleheader featuring the LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire and FC Cincinnati vs. Seattle Sounders.