Fox Sports Rolls Out New Toys for Jr. NBA Global Championship
SkyCam angle gives viewers the feel of watching a video game
The Jr. NBA Global Championship this weekend will get some serious national exposure courtesy of Fox Sports. More than 1,400 minutes of competition will be delivered to viewers, including five games on Fox; two boys’ semifinals and a girls’ semifinal on August 10 and then two finals on August 11.
The Jr. NBA Global Championship is a youth basketball tournament for the top 13- and 14-year old boys’ and girls’ teams from around the world. Qualifying competitions tipped off in January and now the top 32 boys’ and girls’ teams (via all-expenses-paid trips) is competing in the Jr. NBA Global Championship in Orlando, FL.
Bardia Shah-Rais, Fox Sports, VP of Production, says the beauty of the event from a production standpoint is there are no limits to what can be done.
“The NBA has been a fantastic partner on this as we have a Skycam which gives it a bit of an NBA 2K feel,” says Shah-Rais. “We also have a Redrock Micro Digiboom camera like the one we use on NASCAR for pit stops. Here it lets us get over the shoulder of the coach on huddles without being invasive or we can follow the player out to the free throw line. It’s very smooth.”
Francisco Contreras, Fox Sports, director of field operations, says the Digiboom has also successfully been used on boxing and that, combined with 12 regular cameras and the Skycam, the production team has a great opportunity to showcase the kids.
“The NBA has been open to anything we want to bring on boards and the kids are seeing this, so it’s been pretty cool,” he says. “We’re also micing the coach and that has been really great as the talent is interacting with them.”
This is the second year Fox has had the event and this year the decision was made to have just one court instead of two.
“We wanted to give it a bigger feel as we lose half the seating for the TV side which makes it more crowded,” says Contreras. “We’ve been using the two Disney Control Rooms, one for the TV production and the second for streaming, and then we have an uplink and we will add a second uplink tomorrow.”
Adds Shah-Rais: “We love pushing the boundaries and for us this is a good chance to do some things we want to implement in college basketball coverage.”