WCSN Teams With European Partner For IIHF Coverage

By Carolyn Braff The International Ice Hockey Federation
World Championships open play this weekend in Quebec City, Quebec and
Halifax, Nova Scotia, but fans who tune into the World Championship
Sports Network’s live stream of the event on WCSN.com
will see the Canadian ice rink by way of Europe. WCSN’s television
network will televise only 18 of the 56 championship games, so the Internet
entity is leaning on a European partner for streaming support.
“Our normal workflow is to get a host
broadcast signal into our facility in L.A.,” explains David Qualls,
vice president of production and operations at WCSN. “This particular
event is going to be a little bit different in that we’ve entered
a streaming agreement with a European entity. All the matches are going
back to Europe for broadcast on various European global channels, and
then they’re streaming out of encoders for us in Europe.”
WCSN is supplying English-language commentary
for all 56 matches to broadcasters worldwide. In exchange for the
audio track provided by Eric Frede and Steve Schlanger, WCSN is able
to lean on a European answer to the streaming question.
“They already have a delivery solution
for all 56 matches into a streaming hub, whereas we’re only bringing
18 matches into our hub,” Qualls says. “Rather than take on the
expense of all 56 matches for our streaming solution, we are piggybacking
on someone else who already has the full signal in their hub.”
The local production of all 56 matches
is being supervised by Infront Production and Host Broadcast Services,
and implemented by Canada-based Dome Productions, which is spreading
its resources among the two host sites. The main site, Quebec City,
will broadcast in HD using Dome’s Trillium HD production truck.
“They’re covering that entire venue
in HD, so we have HD net cams, HD robocams, obviously the truck in HD,
and then we have two satellite uplink facilities to deliver the HD signals
back to Europe,” explains Mike Johnson, director of engineering for
Dome Productions.
The production includes more than 20
cameras in each arena for each game, including in-goal cameras, which
the broadcasters have brought back after a successful debut during the
2007 event.
In Halifax, the games will be produced in SD 16×9 format supported by
Dome’s Trio X1 truck and three uplink trucks. Dome will also be supporting
Finnish broadcaster YLE by lending its Netstar SD truck to the broadcast.
In addition to the streaming the live
game feeds produced by Dome, WCSN.com will be offering full game archives
and highlight packages from each of the 56 games, beginning May 2.
“We do this quite often,” Qualls
says regarding leaning on a European partner for streaming purposes.
“It’s really about the numbers. If it makes more financial sense
to have someone in Europe stream for you, then we’ll do that.”
WCSN’s live and on-demand video footage
can be accessed via a $4.95 monthly subscription that includes behind-the-scenes
updates, tournament previews, player bios, scores and game recaps.