NAB 2023: Following on Heels of MLS League Pass Success, NEP Expands Global Production Ecosystem in the U.S.

In advance of the 2023 NAB Show, NEP Group is announcing that after the culmination of 18 months of investment, proprietary R&D, and execution of the company’s strategic vision, the company is expanding its global production ecosystem with new strategic partnerships. Many of these partnerships were struck in 2022 and are now coming to life in 2023, starting with the successful launch of the new MLS Season Pass platform.

Inside MLS League Pass studios in NYC

As part of the MLS partnership, NEP is providing a multitude of services to support the League’s full season of more than 950 matches, including: mobile units on-site at every venue; remote and/or centralized support of multiple game feeds from NEP’s New York, Miami and Los Angeles production hubs; studios and control rooms supporting Spanish and English-language pregame, postgame and whip-around shows, media asset management through NEP’s Mediabank product, technical management, crewing and operations support, connectivity between venues, and other infrastructure and systems management.

New Partnerships: From MLS and XFL to PGA Tour and NASCAR

Following the company’s success with MLS, the recent relaunch of the XFL in the U.S., and the integration of centralized, cloud-based workstreams with traditional live production support for the recent Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and World Cup, NEP’s work will be seen this year through a series of new partnerships: the PGA TOUR, NASCAR, Swedish Ice Hockey, World Rally Championship, and the new Dyn Media Sport offering in Germany. These new partnerships are in addition to NEP’s existing Centralized and Connected Production offerings around the world, as well as recent contract extensions to support NFL broadcasters, this year’s Women’s World Cup in Australia, and Indian Premier League coverage in India.

NEP Studios control room during MLS Season Pass broadcast. (Image courtesy: MLS)

“For us, listening and adapting to our clients’ needs is the most important part of our business, and these needs, whether based on advanced technology, reduced costs, increased safety, or something else, are changing rapidly. Our strategy, and now its execution, has been a direct response to that,” says Brian Sullivan, CEO of NEP. “We want to give all our clients the most flexible and forward-looking solutions possible. Our new partnerships in the U.S. and around the globe are a testament to the strength of our people and their ingenuity. And these deals prove the path we’re on is the right one, equipped to lead our industry into the future.”

Sullivan adds: “Centralized and Connected Production is already a big part of our global platform, so it only makes sense to expand our capabilities with our clients, wherever they are. We now have permanent production hubs in the U.S., the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the U.K., and through our flagship facility, the Andrews Hub in Australia, which we upgraded last year to 100% IP. We also have new capabilities coming online in Singapore and have seen success in temporary installations connecting workflows across multiple stadiums. The best part is that centralized and connected production is complementary to our core business. It enables us to bring more production options, tools, and flexibility to our clients.”

Path to Success: Inside the MLS Production Model 

MLS is producing up to 16 studio shows and 14 live MLS matches each week from its NEP hub in Manhattan. The NEP/MLS ecosystem is also responsible for producing 4000 clips; a dozen packages and profiles; over 1000 highlights; broadcasts for Apple TV, Dual fully produced telecasts for FOX Sports; and managing 500 feeds including betting, medical, sponsored, unsponsored, world, domestic, clean, dirty, and VAR.

NEP Studios control room utilizing centralized production solutions. (Image courtesy: MLS)

NEP has 200 people working in 7 states and 6 countries working on maintaining the NEP Technology eco-system to acquire and produce content; hire, manage, process and pay staff and crews; work with IMG in producing 3 studio show operations often combining to produce up to 16 Pre, Post, Whip around shows a day; handle Media Management including virtual melts and clipping; manage feeds distribution and content management; Commercial Playout to Apple TV; and 10 REMI broadcasts a week for MLS Next Pro.
What was once an ample relationship between MLS and NEP’s VISTA in south Florida has grown to in actuality: a league network complete with Offices, studios, PCRs, Ops rooms, research, archives, social and digital clipping and distribution, media management and technology testing.
In order to pull it all off, NEP is utilizing resources from all around country and abroad, studios and PCRs in NYC, a brand New NOC/BOC in Van Nuys, CA, A media hub in Washington, D.C., an Equinix data center in Dallas; a production hub in Pittsburgh; and VISTA studios, control rooms and a transmission HUB in South Florida.

Key members of the NEP team that put the ecosystem together include President of US Broadcast Services Howie Rosenthal, VISTA Worldlink President Josh Liemer, SVP of Production Jeff Jacobs, and Director of Engineering Nic Romano.

Gary Stevenson, MLS Deputy Commissioner and President of MLS Business Ventures, says: “NEP is a world-class partner whose expertise from capture to distribution has enabled us to deliver content in multiple languages to fans in more than 100 countries and regions around the world. We have worked with NEP for more than 20 years and could not be more proud of the work we are doing together to make MLS Season Pass a reality for our fans.”

Creating a Global Production Ecosystem

Studio camera focused on main set for MLS’s 360 Countdown show. (Image courtesy: MLS)

Today, NEP Group offers rights holders and sports leagues a full range of “end-to-end” solutions that capture the action on the field and deliver it to fans anywhere they are, on any device they use, in near real-time. NEP created its global production ecosystem to allow for any combination of traditional broadcast support, at one or multiple event venues, with remote or centralized production capabilities managed off-site, sometimes hundreds – or thousands – of miles away.

Mike Werteen, Global President of NEP Broadcast Services, says: “As part of this strategy, we’re continuing to invest in modernizing our mobile units with IP and by integrating our proprietary broadcast control platform, TFC, or Total Facility Control, into our trucks. TFC makes setup and connectivity simpler, faster and more efficient for the engineers. Right now, we are launching three new fully IP-capable trucks with TFC, each with different capabilities: Supershooter 62, a single REMI unit; Supershooter 7, a single unit paired with a support unit to cover the NBA and NHL; and a twin unit with support to cover premier events. It’s that ability to combine the best thinking and technology around traditional broadcast with connected capabilities that makes us unique. We’ve been building toward this for a decade.”

“We’re excited about the future of production and how NEP can enable that future for our clients,” Sullivan says. “I firmly believe we have the right vision, the right people and the right plan to deliver on our promise – all with the full support and backing of NEP’s Board of Directors and The Carlyle Group, our strategic and financial partner.”

NEP Group at This Year’s NAB Show

With a global ecosystem-themed exhibition at NEP’s Booth #C4535, NEP Group is presenting a variety of product demonstrations, case studies and expert speakers at the 2023 NAB Show, the industry’s leading annual event held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 15-19,

2023. Exhibit details and a complete lineup of NEP appearances are available on NEP’s 2023 NAB Show page.

NEP Global Production Ecosystem At A Glance:

  • Launching four new TFC-powered U.S. Mobile Units in 2023: Supershooter 7 and Supershooter 62 launched in March and Supershooter CBS received TFC upgrade in March
  • 20 connected production hubs: 15 production hubs operated & managed by NEP
  • More than 70 production control rooms (PCRs)
  • 6 broadcast-ready NEP datacenters Dallas, Hilversum, Oslo, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne

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