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Live Streaming Brings Hockey Home to Fans

TVTechnology recently took a look at how live streaming is changing the landscape of options for hockey fans who want to follow more of their favorite sport. 

While many sports fans are content to follow only their favorite team in the top league in a given sport, those who are truly obsessed with a sport want the opportunity to see more games and every tier of the sport. Even with the proliferation of channels that came with cable, that wasn’t economically possible even with the top sports.  Football and basketball fans in the USA for example, often have access to selected games in the major pro and college leagues plus local high schools in some markets, but hockey fans had access to nothing below NHL.

Now, however, the age of live streaming and the innovation of powerful but affordable production technologies such as NewTek TriCaster® TC1 and NDI® IP video workflow is bringing superfans’ dreams to reality. Sports production companies are carving out an entirely new market with streaming subscription packages. These allow fans to see minor leagues, colleges and juniors for sports that wouldn’t draw the ratings to interest broadcast and cable.

In addition to the subscription revenue, these live-streamers can also offer businesses opportunities for sponsorship and branding on the stream. Team and venue branding and sponsorship options gain value as well, with this additional exposure.

One example is Bentley University in Waltham MA, where John Mitchell, owner of Digital Multimedia Solutions in Belmont, MA, oversees production in a new 2,000-seat arena which opened earlier this year. The facility uses two integrated multi-camera production systems, NewTek TriCaster TC1 for the broadcast and TriCaster 8000 for inside the in-house show. Both of these use NewTek’s NDI bi-directional IP technology for video, audio, metadata and communications. All cameras and devices that use NDI can be used by both systems, with no need for duplicate cabling or a video router.

“We used to need racks and racks of equipment to make this all work. The NewTek NDI is the largest router in the world ― without having a router. This is all about the future and IP video.”

Control Room in new arena at Bentley University.

The IP workflow is not the only advantage, Mitchell says: “The control room is run by students. The kids can learn to run replays in 5–10 minutes, which is great, because the challenge in this part of the business is getting the students involved in a learning environment and communicating as a team, with professionals.” The two replay machines for the facility are also NewTek designs, the 3Play 4800 and the 3Play 440.

The Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Regina Pats production setup at the 6,400-seat Brandt Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan, also uses NewTek 3Play 4800 for replays.

Read the complete story at TVTechnology: From the Rink to a Screen Near You

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