College Football Kickoff: Pac-12 Networks Attacks Live Games, On the Road Pregame Show With At-Home Production Model

Seven of the 35-game schedule will be produced at-home in San Francisco

Although a Pac-12 Conference program may have already logged their first football game of the season on the airwaves of Pac-12 Networks (a non-conference matchup between Kent State University and Arizona State University last night), the bulk of the 2019  schedule is still fresh, untouched, and without a blemish. Building off of the inaugural season of The Pregame, the conference’s College GameDay-esque initiative, all 12 campuses will once again be graced by the show. In addition, headquarters back in San Francisco will further deploy their at-home production model on numerous games throughout the year.

“Given Pac-12 Networks’ unique and robust connectivity network with all 12 member universities, we are able to produce a significant number of games as multicams,” says Kyle Reischling, VP, remote events, Pac-12 Networks.

Back in the Bay: Pac-12 Networks’ At-Home Plan
Pac-12 Networks is no stranger to flaunting their at-home production workflows. After deploying the strategy on 60 men’s and 60 women’s college basketball games including all 10 games of the women’s conference championship tournament in Las Vegas, the network is primed to use this same plan on this year’s college football slate.

“Seven out of 35 football games will be at-home productions,” says Reischling. “Working closely with our onsite equipment vendors and internal engineering team, we can produce these events with high-level functionality and with very low latency, inclusive of communications, audio, tallies and net return.”

Mobile trucks supplied by Gearhouse Broadcast will anchor these seven games. And even with their traditional onsite productions (led by NEP as their truck vendor), Pac-12 Networks is shifting gears and is installing an at-home flair with multiple offsite operators and graphics. For all 35 games, operators inside of the studios in San Francisco will be in charge of the score bug and the 1 & 10 line with the help of SMT’s optical-based system. Also, a handful of replay units will be stationed in the Bay Area.

This season, the two main production teams will be led by the duos of producer Michael Molinari and director Scott Barke as well as producer David Feldman and director Tom Ceterski. On the operations side, the group is led by Director of Remote Operations Sarah Backerman, Remote Technology Manager Brent Brown, and Technology Manager Eric Foster. Lastly, Director of Campus and Events Infrastructure Howie Chung and Campus and Events Infrastructure Engineer Brock Adams are responsible for the complex system of connectivity.

Fight Songs and Tailgates: The Pregame Returns for Sophomore Season
Any fan of college football, or college athletics in general, knows that it’s all about the atmosphere of a campus on a Saturday afternoon. The festivities surrounding the action on the field can generate a culture and life of its own. To capture the distinct essence of Pac-12 football from all of its member institutions, The Pregame crew of Ashley Adamson, Mike Yam, Nigel Burton, Nick Aliotti, and Yogi Roth are hopping on the bus to make its tour around the conference with weekly stops in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

“In addition to the live game slate, Pac-12 Networks will host extensive, multi-platform content during the 2019 football season under the new “Pac-12 on the Road” program umbrella,” said Larry Meyers, EVP, content, Pac-12 Networks. “All year long, Pac-12 Networks will take the show on the road to each campus in the Pac-12, with coverage beginning mid-week and content appearing across all of the Networks’ digital and social channels every day, leading up to The Pregame and continued on-campus action on Saturdays of football season. Additional coverage will highlight student life on campus, featuring the people and traditions that give each Pac-12 university its unique personality and culture.”

The first of 12 stops will begin next week in Boulder, CO for a matchup between the University of Nebraska and the University of Colorado on September 7. The other 11 campuses that will be featured include:

  • Sept. 21 — Washington State
  • Sept. 28 — Utah
  • Oct. 5 — Stanford
  • Oct. 12 — Oregon State
  • Oct. 19 — Washington
  • Oct. 26 — UCLA
  • Nov. 2 — Arizona
  • Nov. 9 — Arizona State
  • Nov. 16 — California
  • Nov. 23 — USC
  • Nov. 30 — Oregon

Up in the Clouds: Pac-12 Recruits AWS for Machine-Learning, Media Management
Back in December, the Pac-12 Conference decided to bolster their partnership with AWS during the heat of the basketball season. Now, the same setup will allow the network’s football operations team to tap into the power of the cloud for multiple uses.

“Pac-12 Networks relies on AWS for storage, video encoding, and advanced analytics services to support key workflows for our broadcasts,” says Reischling. “[Also], our live and VOD streaming experiences are powered by AWS Elemental’s media services, including AWS Elemental Media Live, AWS Elemental Media Package, AWS Elemental MediaTailor, and AWS Elemental Media Convert.”

For studio cut-ins throughout the day, the team can use Amazon’s S3 storage services as an integration point to Master Control for all recorded content transfer and as an air-ready archive. In addition, AWS’ Athena date services is allowing the content and product to improve in quality.

 The Pac-12 Networks continues their coverage of college football with a matchup between Sacramento State and Arizona State next Friday, September 6 at 7 p.m. PT/ 10 p.m. ET.