College Sports Live Production

Changing the Game: Eliminating the Bottleneck in College Sports Production

In the spring of 2020, live production of college sports came to a screeching halt. While classroom instruction pivoted to a virtual model, athletics shifted to remote production workflows, attempting to keep athletic programs strong and satisfy the fans who supported them. Forced to embrace new workflows, college and university sports production departments re-examined traditional ways of working. What became painfully clear, particularly as production of live sports began to ramp up again, is that while demand for coverage and content from their schools continues to grow, limited physical resources are an unavoidable bottleneck.

Constrained by the fixed production capacity of a single control room, or maybe two, athletic directors have no choice but to prioritize which sports can be produced for broadcast or streaming. A conventional control room can produce/stream upwards of 150 events or games per school year. Capacity is limited, and games and tournaments frequently overlap. Over one weekend in fall, there might be a cross-country race, men’s and women’s soccer games, a football game, a field hockey game, a volleyball tournament, or possibly even water polo! In other words, numerous teams continually compete for scarce production resources. 

As a result, a small percentage of a school’s sports teams actually get broadcast or streaming coverage — or viewer access and fan engagement. And, naturally, the coaches, student athletes, parents, and boosters involved in sports that don’t get coverage are frustrated and disappointed. The athletes competing in those events matter just as much. They’re just as passionate about their sport. Maybe the team even has a better record or more exciting games than the better-promoted sports. So, a real and increasingly pressing question – and one that is pertinent to diversity and inclusion –  is how to overcome that challenge. How can athletic departments eliminate the bottleneck of the traditional control room, with a single production switcher, cameras usually fixed to a few locations, and limited audio, graphics and replay capability that doesn’t scale for the majority of events, locations, and remotes?

The answer lies in cloud production technology. With the new Chyron LIVE platform, colleges and universities can put professional-grade broadcast capabilities into the hands of more live content creators. And, because the platform is so easy to use, those content creators can be student interns, or even motivated and tech-savvy team managers or assistants. 

Eliminating the Barrier to Professional Broadcast-Grade Sports Production

A traditional control room requires real estate and a physical facility. There are all of the individual pieces of equipment for each aspect of production – vision mixers/switchers, graphics systems, replay servers, clip servers and so on, as well as cabling and an infrastructure to transport signals. Much of this gear is quite expensive.  In contrast, Chyron LIVE includes video switching, audio mixing, motion graphics, clip playout, replay creation, and dynamic telestration — within a single cloud-native platform. In other words, all of the functionality found in a traditional brick and mortar control room, or in a broadcast truck, is available on-demand, for an hourly fee, in a single cloud native platform. 

Besides technology, production requires labor. With Chyron LIVE’s all-in-one SaaS implementation, a solo operator can run the game day production or multiple crew can login from one or more locations and work on the same game. Ideally, in the cloud workflow, operation is familiar to the seasoned control room crew, but intuitive for staff who are new to live sports production, and there are readily available, free, learning resources.  

Further eliminating any “barrier to entry” for covering any sport, almost any type of camera feed may be used, from professional broadcast grade cameras to cell phones. Certain cameras may require encoders to create a cloud-ready source while others readily output to cloud compatible protocols such as Zixi Push,  RIST, RTP or SRT Listener. A multi-camera production could even be as simple as three or four students with tablets or cell phones with high resolution cameras, mounted on selfie sticks or tripods showing up at a game, using a free encoding application and feeding the camera streams to Chyron LIVE with one or more of them working in the LIVE environment to select sources for the output, add graphics, and create illustrated replay clips.  

Ability to Scale to Production Demand (Uniquely High for College Athletics)

When athletic directors, coaches, and sports information directors look ahead at the schedule and face tough decisions about production, Chyron LIVE changes the conversation. It’s an intuitive solution that spins up easily and allows colleges and universities to give every sport, every team, and every game — at every level — the coverage that student-athletes deserve and that their fans appreciate. Imagine being able to spin up multiple cloud production instances to cover simultaneous games, rather than facing the reality of never having the resources to build additional control rooms and never being able to offer coverage for all of your programs.  In fact, cloud based production can be essentially free. With the potential of cloud production, you can begin to sell advertising and sponsorships for events that you never even covered in the past. Creating a sponsorship pricing structure that covers – or exceeds- your production costs allows the team and the sport to drive its coverage, rather than its coverage being driven by an existing and limited budget. 

See for yourself how cloud-based, end-to-end live production could be a game-changer for your institution! Book a Chyron LIVE demo today.

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