XOS Digital Equips Broadcast-Control Room in New Bradley University Arena

Bradley University athletics fans are in store for a groundbreaking fall sports season. The school is set to open a brand-new 4,500-seat Athletic Performance Center on its Peoria, IL, campus this summer. The new facility will feature an HD/SD broadcast-control room to power the Braves’ new video displays, which will be integrated within the arena by XOS Digital’s Integrated Solutions Group.

The new facility will serve as the home of Bradley women’s basketball and volleyball and replaces the aging Robertson Memorial Fieldhouse, which was built in 1949 and decommissioned in 2008.

“To say [Bradley’s] previous arena was outdated would be a glowing term,” says Bryan Bedford, director of business development, XOS Integrated Solutions Group at XOS Digital. “They had done some limited court signage and had not done any in-house video.”

Bradley’s new control room and the accompanying Telecast Fiber infrastructure will enable the school’s athletics program to acquire, manage, and distribute video to the arena’s two Daktronics large-screen scoreboards, five LED scorer’s-table displays, coaches’ video rooms, and in-venue televisions on the concourses and lobbies.

“By integrating a broadcast-control room into our facility, we’re positioning Bradley to develop our own cutting-edge video and graphics for the arena and throughout our athletic program,” says Director of Athletics Dr. Michael Cross. “We also plan to use this as a laboratory-like environment for students enrolled in Bradley’s Sports Communication Program by providing them opportunities to learn their craft on this remarkable technology.”

Streaming the Braves

In addition, the main control room will provide video to the SNG-truck dock for TV broadcasts as well as Bradley’s Web-streaming channels. The university offers live streaming for every women’s basketball and volleyball home game on BUBraves.com through Web-video partner JumpTV.

“All the connectivity is in place [for streaming and telecasting games]. They’re going to get a better-quality feed [for streaming] than they ever have before because, in the past, they were just doing a single-camera shoot for volleyball and women’s basketball,” says Bedford. “Now they’re going to do a multiple-camera shoot with full graphics. It’s just going to be a better-quality experience for the online fan.”

Maximizing Space and Budget

The control room will revolve around a Panasonic AV-HS400A switcher and use three Sony PMW-EX3 XDCAM HD cameras. Bradley’s control room will also feature custom millwork for consoles and various workstations that include camera shading areas, the technical-director station, the character-generator (Compix Media single-channel CG) station, and the instant-replay (NewTek 3Play multichannel HD/SD) station.

The XOS Digital project plan also maximizes Bradley’s space by consolidating hardware. For example, the technical-director station will include a multi-image display processor, which can create split-screens for all of the inputs as well as program and preview outputs, eliminating the need for separate monitors.

“We tried to make the space as ergonomic and efficient as possible without a whole lot of clutter,” says Bedford. “We looked at who’s going to do what when and really just tried to streamline everyone’s job.”

Replicating the Carver Atmosphere

One of Bradley’s primary goals with the new Athletic Performance Center is to provide fans with an experience similar to that of Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center, where the men’s basketball team plays.

“[Bradley] wanted to be able to have that same game-day experience for home women’s basketball and volleyball games [as they did for men’s basketball],” says Bedford. “Their fans have already become accustomed to the level of technology [at Carver Arena], and to build a brand-new arena without the best possible technology would not have set the proper tone that they wanted.”

Bradley plans to unveil the new arena this summer, with an August volleyball game expected to be the first school event to use the new production technology.