To Meet Growth Needs, FloSports Opens New Studio and Builds Two Trucks Dedicated to Streaming

The sports-media company saw a 17% hike in minutes streamed last year

To accommodate a growing business, FloSports has opened a new studio in downtown Austin, TX, and built two production trucks specifically for streaming. The goal is to make its shows look like those from a broadcast network — but for just a fraction of the budget.

The global independent sports-media company — which has partnerships with sports organizations including the Big East, NASCAR and American Hockey League — reports that, in 2023, it achieved its most streams yet, with almost 2 billion live-event minutes streamed across 24,000 events. That represents a 17% increase over the prior year.

Last year was also the biggest year yet for FloSports social media, the company says, with more than 1.5 billion video views and a 54% increase in engagements.

The “backstory” on the new studio is “just that Flo’s growing quickly,” says Joe Baker, VP, production and operations, FloSports. “We grew out of the building that we had previously been in and moved into this new office in downtown Austin. With that move, we needed to relocate our studio.”

One of two streaming-specific production trucks that FloSports has built this year

He oversees the FloSports live event production and the “operations side of things” and describes FloSports Senior Coordinating Director Lou Pantoja as his “right-hand man [who] oversees all things on the production side.”

Noting that FloSports had “very small control rooms just to run the cameras in the studio in the old building,” Baker says the “process of moving into this new place gave us a chance to refresh a studio look that had become quite outdated and to refresh the technology that drove it all.

“Moving to the new, larger studio was, in part, driven by need,” he continues. “It was also a great opportunity to refresh the whole look and expand on what we were capable of doing to support the live event shows with some solid studio programming.”

The move is a “big feat for Flo because we’ve got so many moving parts and so many things going on all at once,” Pantoja says, noting that, besides building a new studio, FloSports also “got some trailers on the road, so it has been a really fun past year.”

With a 42- x 17-ft. footprint, the new studio space needed to be versatile and serve many purposes. It checks those boxes and features stronger lighting as well. FloSports also wanted to ensure that the green-screen area was large enough to build a wraparound, multi-angle wall for virtual sets in the future.

The content team, meanwhile, wanted to stick to podcast mics for some of the space, so FloSports has deployed the Shure SM7B, along with a complement of lav mics and IFBs.

Panasonic AW-UE80 PTZ cameras were picked for their “one-man–band versatility” and the ability to support augmented-reality/virtual-reality integration, Baker says.

The studio houses anti-glare Samsung Frame in-studio displays. FloSports kept its vMix workflow in the three control rooms but has the versatility to expand. The backbone architecture is based on a Ross Ultrix 64×64 video router and MADI audio routing. The primary control room was designed for traditional production with multiple stations; the other two are smaller.

To design, model and fabricate the new studio, FloSports tapped Austin-based Hola Production Design, owned by Ashley Landavazo.

Even though construction was done during working hours in an active office building with tenants above and below, the project took less time to complete than similar projects typically take and cost less money, according to FloSports. The project started in July 2023, with set design for the studio begun in November, ground-breaking in mid December. and project completion on Jan. 20.

Fabrication in-house helped, Baker says: “It was key.” Another important factor was that the FloSports live-event-production group worked closely with the content group.

In addition to the studio, the project included building two production trailers. FloSports determined that it was the right time to also invest in production trucks built specifically for streaming.

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