NESN, the official network of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins, and LiveU, the pioneer and leader in IP-based live video services and broadcast solutions, have announced a new innovation for covering live sports without the need of a mobile truck, satellite signal or any wired connection from the event. The network will utilize multiple cameras feeding back to NESN’s Boston-area studios via bonded cellular technology.
NESN plans to use multiple LU500 portable transmission units to pilot live “@Home Productions” on the majority of Red Sox home and road spring training Games in 2016 as part of a new innovation and business model for sports coverage. NESN and LiveU successfully developed and tested this new means of remote event coverage last spring during Red Sox Grapefruit League games in Florida and during the summer from minor league baseball AAA Red Sox games in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
NESN collaborated with LiveU technicians to develop a system that synchronizes multiple LU500 portable cellular transmission units. The production team at NESN’s control room in Watertown, Massachusetts is able to switch between cameras with no significant latency, eliminating the need for traditional production and transmission methods as well as replacing newer, Internet-based processes. NESN will continue to use the high-end HD broadcast cameras and telephoto lenses that are commonplace in professional sports.
As part of the innovative plan, NESN’s game announcers will continue to call the game from the ballparks’ broadcasting booths, as all the audio from the venues will be imbedded with the LiveU signals sent back to NESN’s studios. The set-up will include two options for return feeds, including one via LiveU that will allow announcers at the ballparks to see graphics and replays from the Watertown control room.
“We’ve been in continuous dialog with LiveU to develop a more agile method of covering sports from venues not equipped to easily accommodate live productions using traditional methods of connectivity,” said Joseph Maar, NESN’s Vice President of Programming & Production, Executive Producer. “LiveU is the standard bearer for live wireless transmission and has proven to be both innovative and attentive to our needs for producing live sporting events from alternative venues such as Grapefruit League and minor league stadiums.”
“At-home production isn’t just the wave of the future, it’s here today. And NESN is one of the first broadcasters to utilize at-home production in professional sports,” said Mike Savello, LiveU’s Vice President of Sales. “Bringing back multiple camera feeds wirelessly as independent IP video streams from any sports venue to NESN’s studios, all synched together, is what LiveU specializes in. We’re excited to be partnering with NESN on this new workflow for live sports production.”
The LiveU solution for NESN is centered on the LU500, a lightweight, mobile field acquisition unit. The LU500 offers up to 13 simultaneous network links including 6 to 8 internal bonded cellular connections, which provide uninterrupted broadcast quality streaming while capturing dynamic content in fast-changing sporting events. The LU500 can be 100% controlled remotely from any computer using the LiveU Central management platform, making it ideal for at-home sports production. In addition each LU500 used by NESN is equipped with wireless LAN technology, providing additional bandwidth when LAN connectivity is available in-venue, regardless of its location in the park.
NESN has consistently been one of the top-rated regional sports networks in the country with award-winning Red Sox and Bruins coverage. The network is delivered to over 4 million homes throughout the six-state New England region and an additional 5 million homes nationally as NESN National on digital and sports tiers in nearly 100 DMAs. Forbes Magazine recently ranked NESN as the 9th Most Valuable Sports Business Brand in the world. NESN.com is the most visited regional sports network website in the country with over 10 million monthly unique visitors. NESN also produces a number of distinctive programs under its umbrella Original NESN Entertainment (ONE). NESN’s social responsibility program, NESN Connects, is proud to support and connect its employees with charitable organizations in their communities. NESN is owned by Fenway Sports Group (owners of the Boston Red Sox) and Delaware North (owners of the Boston Bruins).
LiveU sets the standard for high-quality and reliable live video acquisition, management and distribution over IP. LiveU's award-winning technology enables live video transmission from any location around the world with lightweight, easy-to-use equipment. From backpacks to smartphones, and satellite/cellular hybrid to external antenna solutions, LiveU offers a complete range of devices for live video coverage anytime, anywhere. In addition, LiveU offers extensive cloud-based management and video distribution solutions. With top-tier customers in 60+ countries, LiveU’s solutions are being utilized for breaking and developing news and high-profile events, such as the FIFA World Cup™, Winter and Summer Olympic Games, Presidential Campaigns, Super Bowls, US Collegiate Championships and red-carpet events. LiveU’s solutions include multiple 4G LTE/3G, HSPA+, WiMAX and Wi-Fi cellular links, which are optimized for maximum video quality based on the available network conditions. For more information, visit www.liveu.tv, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.