MLB All-Star 2021: CP Communications Manages RF Connectivity, Other Production Needs in Mile High City
Coordination was key with 16 RF cameras, 60 wireless mics, and studio and broadcast operations
Every year, the MLB All-Star Game calls for sure-fire connectivity and synchronization between the compound and the stadium as well as among devices working together simultaneously. For the biggest events during the recent four-day stretch of All-Star festivities in Denver, CP Communications was onsite to assist participating broadcasters with RF connectivity at multiple venues.
During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, when games were played without fans in attendance, broadcasters and their partners were able to produce shows without much interference. Now fans are returning to the stands, bringing mobile devices and consuming content onsite. At a venue like Coors Field, which can seat just over 50,000 patrons, wireless activations during Monday’s Home Run Derby on ESPN and Tuesday’s All-Star Game on Fox faced significant signal congestion. Interference also was possible for events occurring away from the ballpark: MLB Network’s presentation of the MLB Draft on Sunday at the Colorado Convention Center’s Bellco Theatre and both Media Day on Monday and the Red Carpet Show on Tuesday at McGregor Square.
“Given the size, shape, and number of users at an All-Star Game, coordination is extremely important,” says Michael Mason, president, CP Communications. “In this region, mountain-top TV transmitters made it more challenging, but doing accurate site surveys and getting current spectrum scans from the area were extremely critical.”
CP’s connectivity solutions involved a large chunk of the equipment used by Fox Sports, ESPN, and MLB Network. On the camera front, 16 RF handhelds included a Sony HDC-P50 on a MōVI camera rig, a Steadicam, two Megalodons, two FlyCams, and batting-cage POVs. As for audio, 60 wireless microphones were deployed: by reporters; on players, umpires, and coaches; and buried in the ground.
The broadcasters tapped CP Communications also for their respective studio programming: ESPN’s Baseball Tonight from its setup in foul territory, Fox Sports pregame show from its stage on the outfield concourse, and MLB Network’s offering from its on-field desk. The packed schedule could have been daunting, but the vendor deployed a plan that streamlined the operations.
“ESPN’s busiest day was Monday, and Fox Sports’ was on Tuesday,” notes Mason. “When there wasn’t a conflict, we shared and shifted a few frequencies amongst them.”
Located in the compound outside the stadium, 23 staffers controlled all the services from the company’s HD-21 mobile unit. A lot of things could have gone wrong with such a large-scale project, but, with a strong understanding of the technology and a committed staff, CP Communications delivered the high-quality solutions suitable for the Midsummer Classic.
“Our onsite crew was truly second to none,” says Mason. “There was so much going on that it was a cooperative effort to give all of our clients support at the highest level.”
For more coverage from the 2021 MLB All-Star Game in Denver, click HERE.