VER, SOS Global Help ESPN Tip Off NCAA Men’s Hoops Season in Puerto Rico

The road to the Final Four begins in earnest on Friday as ESPN’s coverage of the Armed Forces Classic takes over a hanger at the Coast Guard Station in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, with the help of a VER flypack, SOS Global shipping, Musco lighting, and the help of the U.S. Coast Guard which turns its attention away from the high seas and to the hardwood.

ESPN has assembled a basketball court inside a hanger in Puerto Rico for the U.S. Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 14.

ESPN has assembled a basketball court inside a hanger in Puerto Rico for the U.S. Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 14.

“The Coast Guard could not be more accommodating,” says Terri Hermann, ESPN, operations manager. “They’ve been absolutely generous with their time and assistance and they’ve helped us with everything from finding power vendors to the best place to get donuts. This event is always about celebrating [the U.S. Armed Forces] and it is wonderful to work with them.”

The main event will be a game between Louisville and Minnesota on Friday night and it will be a classic ESPN A-level college production with eight cameras plus an RF camera from 3G Wireless and a jib camera.

“The Coast Guard cleared some frequencies for us as we are on an active airport,” says Hermann.

Hermann and the team began working on the event a little more than a year ago and given that a production facility was needed for both the Classic and the Puerto Rico Tip Off, played at the Roberto Celemente Coliseum in San Juan next week, the decision was made to use a VER flypack. The Tip Off Tournament will actually be a smaller show so the production will be scaled down a bit.

“It has all new out-of-the-box equipment,” says Hermann.

Howie Rosenthal, VER, director of broadcast with the flypack VER supplied to ESPN.

Howie Rosenthal, VER, director of broadcast with the flypack VER supplied to ESPN.

Given that the game will be played in a hanger ESPN also had to bring in a court as well as the Musco lighting and bleachers. Camera scaffolding and platforms also had to be assembled.

On Sunday all of the kit will be packed up and transported across the island by SOS Global. Helping in the process is that the furniture will not need to be repacked and then reassembled at the Coliseum. Instead it will be loaded onto a flat-bed truck and then rolled into a dance studio ballroom.

“SOS has been really proactive and that has been a huge help with the timelines,” adds Hermann.

As for transmission, a C-band transmission system on a flat-bed truck will be used in order to offer enough power to punch through any possible thunderstorms.