MLS 2022: TUDN Embarks on 32-Game Schedule in NEP’s New Supershooter 61
Spanish-language sports channel is in its seventh straight season of ‘at-home’ production
As the 2022 Major League Soccer season heads into its second weekend of games, Univision will continue to thrill both Spanish-language and English-language viewers. For its 32-game package — 32 on TUDN, 18 simulcast on UniMás, and 14 also on Univision — the broadcaster will be working from the new NEP Supershooter 61 mobile unit.
“This will be our seventh consecutive season covering the most important moments that have helped position the MLS as one of the premier leagues in North America,” says Miguel Angel Garcia, EVP, live events and production services, TUDN. “The whole team is ready to bring our audience the best viewing experience possible.”
Seventh Year of Remotes: NEP’s Supershooter 61 Drives Broadcasts in Miami
Beginning with the 2016 MLS season, Univision has logged a full season’s worth of at-home productions. At the time, such workflows were a rarity, but, with the industry increasingly relying on at-home production, the broadcaster used its offseason to work with NEP to develop a new mobile unit that can handle these telecasts.
“At the end of last season, we were able to build a production truck with new technology that will allow us to produce all our games via [at-home] production,” says Garcia. “This new truck has top-of-the-line equipment, new cameras with cutting-edge lenses, and brand-new audio equipment, which are tailored to our production needs.”
Stationed at the Univision facility in Miami, Garcia not only has the ability to control the broadcasts from a centralized location but also is able to deploy the same crew for each show. Like most at-home–production models, this decision will also have financial benefits.
“The consistency [developed] between production and technical staff will lead to a better overall production,” he says. “Every year, we’re improving our quality and efficiency to optimize the resources that we have in our facility.”
Broadcast Technology: Crew Leverages 12 Cameras, EVS Replay, English Audio on Twitter
The offsite production team will have an impressive set of tools for each game. Any game will be covered by 12 cameras, including at least one super-slo-mo. In Miami, the feeds will be supplemented by three six-channel EVS replay servers and a new graphics package that matches MLS’s new look. In addition, the upgraded production facility is capable of sending signals faster to domestic and international partners.
“Each MLS game that we produce will also have narration in English,” Garcia explains. “In addition to delivering an international signal to our MLS partners, we will be producing games in English, with English graphics on Twitter.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it has been extremely difficult for the network to travel talent to the venue. As cases plummet and the working environment improves, play-by-play commentators and analysts will once again return to the stadium. In addition, onsite coverage will be increased for marquee matchups. For example, the crew added two cameras to the complement for LAFC vs. Colorado Rapids on Saturday, Feb. 26.
2022 Marquee Matchups: Schedule Includes All-Star Festivities, MLS Cup
Throughout 2022, TUDN will present a total of 32 regular-season games, with 18 simulcast on UniMás and 14 also on Univision. Along with last weekend’s Opening Day match, the schedule will highlight multiple high-profile games, including back-to-back Texas Derbys —featuring FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo on Saturday, April 23 and second-year Austin FC vs. Houston Dynamo on Saturday, April 30 — and the Cali Classic between San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy on Wednesday, July 13.
The television schedule will also include the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge and All-Star Game in the summer as well as postseason play in the fall. The season will eventually culminate with presentation of the MLS Cup. Overall, Univision has high expectations for the upcoming slate and aims to serve up full coverage of MLS action.
Says Garcia, “We are extremely happy and excited for this new season, where we’ll be focusing on maintaining our level of production quality.”