Calrec Audio delivers for first UK NFL Broadcast

U.K. outside broadcast specialist CTV and the NFL scored a touchdown in London on Oct. 28 with flanking support from Calrec Audio. NFL host broadcasters Fox Sports teamed up with CTV’s flagship OB9 HD truck to broadcast the New York Giants vs. Miami Dolphins game in front of a sellout, 90,000-strong Wembley Stadium crowd.

Broadcast live across Europe on Sky Sports and in the U.S. via Fox Sports, it was the first NFL league game to be played in the U.K., but according to CTV’s International Business Director Bill Morris, there was one reassuring constant — Calrec.

“Fox Sports Network and the NFL treated this league match as they would a match played in the U.S, so there was no compromise in the way the operation unfolded,” Morris said. “Fox traveled with its full announcer, talent, and reporting team, as well as a core crew of U.S. operators from its regular NFL team. The sound supervisor immediately felt at home in OB9, and he was thrilled to see the Alpha as it is identical to the one he had been using on various shows in the U.S.”

In fact, every NFL game in the U.S. is covered by a Calrec console. Independent research by the Sports Video Group claims Calrec audio consoles are installed in 48% of U.S. HD trucks and are far and away the market leaders in their field.

“The NFL and Fox Sports contacted CTV some months prior to the game,” Morris added. “From the first survey in the summer to the transmission on Oct. 28, planning was conducted daily. Audio planning was critical, as NFL audio is acquired in a completely different way than most U.K. sports. Similarly, the NFL communications network is the most comprehensive and complex I have encountered in a sports operation.”

The pitch mic array utilized parabolic mics that are rarely used in Europe. Four and a half meters in diameter, two-handled parabolic reflectors coupled with RF transmitters were strapped to audio assistants, who ran the sideline following the plays. Along with a substantial array of FX mics, these were sub-mixed and sent as aux feeds to the Calrec in OB9. Announcers, presentation positions, reporters, and a large array of GPI graphics FX triggers were added into the resultant 5.1 mix.