NBA Season Tip-Off: MSG Network Adds Vibrant New Studio Set

Large, rotatable graphics. Multiple shooting positions. Customizable and flexible layouts. Sports networks are asking for more from their at-home studios and sets than ever before. A dynamic studio is no longer the palette; it’s a key piece of the art itself.

SVP and Executive Producer Jeff Filippi (left) and VP, Network Operations Jackie Lyons,  played major roles in the development of MSG Network's new studio.

SVP and Executive Producer Jeff Filippi (left) and VP, Network Operations Jackie Lyons, played major roles in the development of MSG Network’s new studio.

The same can be said for a spanking-new space at New York City-based regional sports network MSG Network, which introduced the studio this month. Conceived by set designer James Yates Production Design and fabricated and installed by Creative Dimensions, the 1,386-sq.-ft. studio will serve as host to Knicks and Rangers pre/postgame, the weekly show Hockey Night Live, and other programming.

“This studio gives us a lot of options and not only on event days,” says Jackie Lyons, VP, network operations, MSG Network. “If we wanted to do a postproduced special, we have the opportunity to do that and not have it look like one of our pre- or post-game shows.”

MSG Network debuted its new studio space during a Knicks preseason game on Oct. 8.   Photo: Avi Gerver/MSG Photos

MSG Network debuted its new studio space during a Knicks preseason game on Oct. 8. Photo: Avi Gerver/MSG Photos

Referred to as Studio B, the set is across the hall from the network’s former primary home, Studio A, which it still shares with national music network Fuse. Studio B is not, for all intents and purpose, an MSG Network-exclusive space.

Working with Hoboken, NJ-based systems integrator The Systems Group, MSG Network envisions producing a colorful, graphic- and image-filled canvas with this studio. The network’s graphics department worked throughout the summer developing new, large elements that will fill the many screens and pillars that can carry content throughout the set.

“We wanted a studio that was as flexible and as large as possible,” says Jeff Filippi, SVP/executive producer, MSG Network. “Our graphics department is not looking at this as the same kind of full-page, baseball-card feel but something that’s integrated into the set so it’s a part of the overall theme of the way the set looks.”

Studio B features a 3x5 HD monitor wall fed by a Vista Spyder video-processing system.   Photo: Avi Gerver/MSG Photos

Studio B features a 3×5 HD monitor wall fed by a Vista Spyder video-processing system. Photo: Avi Gerver/MSG Photos

Studio B features three positions to host from, highlighted by a new high-tech desk positioned in front of a NEC X46UN-2–based 3×5 HD monitor walls that measures 16-ft. 10-in. x 10-ft. 6-in. Those monitors are fed by a Vista Systems Spyder X20 video processor and can be customized and organized by screen or stitched together to form one large image. It’s a major upgrade for MSG, which previously had only a single monitor display around its anchor desk.

A secondary hosting position is just to the right of the main set and has a 3×3 HD monitor wall of its own for standup shots with hosts. Third, the network is adding a touchscreen monitor for its in-studio analysts, the GoTo Board by Sports Media Technologies (SMT).

The folks at MSG also had to get a little creative with a building pillar right down the center of the studio. It was decided to turn the column into a monitor wall that resembles the side of a skyscraper. Instead of serving as an obstacle, it’s now a key centerpiece in the graphic-centric style that the network is looking to achieve.

“It’s a good approach for us to have the set as content,” says Lyons. “That’s different for us. It’s generating things here so you don’t necessarily have to go away from your set or your anchors to get your information across. It’s present. It’s visual. It’s with you the entire show.”