Live from the Open: DirecTV’s Mosaic Returns

DirecTV’s Mosaic multi-channel coverage of the Open Championship is once again on site this year with a new OB unit to call home, expanded coverage that begins at 6:30 in the morning, and the original production leader of such efforts at the helm: Don Colantonio who is serving as coordinating producer for DirecTV.

Don Colantonio (left) and Dan Regan oversee DirecTV's Mosaic service.

Don Colantonio (left) and Dan Regan oversee DirecTV’s Mosaic service.

“It’s a different dynamic but these guys are professionals and the NBC guys have been great to work with and we are getting what we need to continue the mix,” says Colantonio. “This is year eight as we first did this at the U.S. Open in Oakmont in 2007. And for me personally it is satisfying to be here again.”

The DIRECTV Mosaic service this year includes three featured holes (holes six, seven, and eight) as well as a First Tee channel and a Marquee Mix that will cover up two featured groups per day. European Tour Productions is handling the production of the Mosaic feeds

Production takes place in CTV OB3 (the featured holes), CTV MVT1 (where the Golf Channel has a producer on site to assist with the First Tee Mix), and CTV OB10 (where the Marquee Mix is cut from all the on-course cameras plus two RF cameras that are with the group).

“The most significant change this year is that we’re on the air at 6:30 and we’ve never done that before,” says Colantonio. “And the R&A stacked the decks with a great first group at 6:30 in the morning that featured Colin Montgomery and Luke Donald. That’s the best first group in the history of the Open and they’ve done that intentionally to get viewers to tune in.”

Colantonio and the team are trying to be as unobtrusive as possible so that the core European Tour Production team that is handling the world feed can focus on creating 14 hours of clean coverage for broadcasters like NBC Sports, Sky Sports, TV Asahi, and more. The Mosaic team is also a bit less autonomous than in the past as the ETP team handles the production but Colantonio has the ability to call for pauses in the coverage to insert commercial breaks and promos.

The fact that the DirecTV Mosaic service is back at the Open despite a change in U.S. and UK rights holders (and the new production teams) shows how the service has transformed from being a neat offering seven years ago to an integral part of any production of a major golf (or tennis) tournament.

“There’s been a big uptick in digital distribution of this content, all the rights holders are expecting it, and it’s being built into business plans,” says Colantonio. “And consumers are acknowledging it as an enhancement of the viewing experience.”