Fox Sports, Visions Innovate for Champions League Final

Fox Sports is once again at the UEFA Champions League final, but, this year, there’s a twist: the production team is overseeing unilateral feeds from Saturday’s match in Munich for Fox Sports, Fox Sports Soccer Channel, Fox Deportes, and Fox Sports Latin America.

“Every year, this gets bigger for us, and it’s because, unlike with the World Cup or Olympics, we, and 20 other broadcasters, land on the ground and build it up over a week,” says Mike Davies, VP of engineering, Fox Sports.

Although Fox Sports and Fox Soccer Channel operations will operate together, the two Spanish-language networks have completely separate operations, with their own commentary positions, studios, and staffs in the Visions production truck.

NEP Visions’ Brian Clark in the truck compound

“With four channels and the size of the rigging and engineering departments, this is probably the biggest unilateral operation here,” says Brian Clark, commercial and technical projects director, NEP Visions. “Combined, we have so much going on.”

Visions HD4 serves as the production unit for the Fox Sports side of the operation; Fox Sports Deportes and Fox Sports Latin America operate out of NEP1. The latter required a technical tweak: in the expando area, a temporary divider basically turns the two benches into two front benches, one for Fox Sports Deportes and one for Fox Sports Latin America.

According to Clark, the outboard Grass Valley Kalypso switcher was taken from the main console so that both networks have access to  a switcher for mixing pregame, postgame, and halftime shows using three cameras each and an EVS server.

The Fox Sports production will feature six unilateral camera feeds, as well as 18 feeds that will be taken from the Sky Deutschland production. Game coverage will rely completely on the international feed.

“By the time the game starts,” says Davies, “we are assembling packages for the halftime and post-game coverage.”