Pac-12 Networks Turns to iN DEMAND for Mobile Production Facilities, Support
Although the backbone of the upcoming Pac-12 Networks will be its live football and basketball broadcasts, the burgeoning media company has also committed to more than 600 live broadcasts of “Olympic” sports on its television and digital platforms.
To help get all those games to air, Pac-12 Enterprises has expanded its existing relationship with iN DEMAND to supply the networks with mobile production facilities for Olympic-sport broadcasts and technical-crew services for football and basketball games.
Working with three to six vendors, iN DEMAND will supply smaller mobile production units — 35- to 40-ft. trucks — all with Full HD. According to iN DEMAND President/CEO Bob Benya, the announcement of which vendors will be used is “imminent.”
“Given the logistics of all of this, it’s a pretty interesting project,” he says. “You’ve got 12 universities, and each university has multiple venues. It’s all pretty spread out. You’re really trying to configure all of these production services for what could be 36 to 48 different venues in 12 universities across six states. We’ve got some significant geographic dispersion.”
The first events that iN DEMAND will support with mobile units will be a field-hockey game between Maryland and California and a men’s soccer matchup between New Mexico and UCLA on Aug. 24.
In addition, iN DEMAND will also coordinate and supply “below-the-line” technical-crew support for the network on its 30 football games and approximately 150 basketball games. The college football season kicks off on Pac-12 Networks on Aug. 30 with Northern Colorado at Utah at 4:15 PT.
“This is a great product concept,” says Benya. “The regional feeds are going to be very relevant in the local markets, which is really different from any other network offering that is out there.” He also praised the network’s commitment to a large slate of live games and its desire to provide a TV Everywhere platform as part of the launch.
Last month, iN DEMAND and Comcast Media Center announced that they will provide distribution services for the seven linear feeds, including hundreds of live sports events annually, plus other programming from the 12 colleges in the conference.
In addition, iN DEMAND/CMC will provide a free On-Demand package of content, including approximately 20 hours per month and a TV Everywhere solution. The infrastructure of their linear-network technical distribution services will include fiber connectivity between the Pac-12 San Francisco studio, all 12 of its member universities, and the CMC in Denver; master-control origination services located at the CMC; compression and satellite front-haul services; satellite receiver authorizations; and disaster recovery. iN DEMAND/CMC will also provide staffing to run these technical operations.
“They have hired a bunch of really great people that really know what they’re doing,” Benya adds. “I know a lot of people look at this and say, ‘Wow, how can you do something this big?’ I think they have it pretty much under control. They know what they want to do, and we are thrilled to be a part of this.”