FOX SPORTS and NEP Australia have announced the extension of their long term relationship with a new six-year deal that will usher in the future of live sports broadcasts in Australia.
Set to be the most technically advanced facilities of their kind in the world on this scale, two new NEP-developed ‘hubs’ in Sydney and Melbourne will enable multiple, concurrent outside broadcasts (OBs) and set a new standard for sports television globally.
Whereas OBs customarily require a dedicated control unit housing production staff and equipment at individual events, the hubs will allow for ‘remote production’ of FOX SPORTS’ tier one sports. This means cameras and microphones will be located at the venue, with the majority of the production team based at the hubs.
There, central control facilities can accommodate up to six simultaneous events, connecting with venues via NEP’s new high capacity/low latency countrywide fibre network. Moving away from traditional cables, each hub will be designed around industry-leading IP infrastructure.
With production talent able to work across codes from a single location, FOX SPORTS will be able to benefit from greater opportunities for upskilling and idea-sharing, with the overall benefit being an enhanced and more consistent experience for fans of all major sports watching at home or in pubs and clubs.
Lower operational costs and greater efficiencies through a reduction in staff time spent on the road, combined with central and inter-hub resource sharing across everything from equipment through to disaster recovery capabilities, will also flow from the new hub model.
FOX SPORTS’ deal with NEP will run for an initial term from 2017-2022 and amalgamates existing standalone code arrangements into one contract. With initial testing underway, the intention is for both hubs to be fully operational across all venues in time for the commencement of the 2018 NRL and AFL seasons.
FOX SPORTS CEO, Patrick Delany, said of the initiative, “This is the outside broadcast production model of the future, and we’re proud at FOX SPORTS to be leading the way in Australia and the world with a venture of this size and scale. The new hubs will mean better working conditions and opportunities for staff, increased scope for creativity, flexibility and consistency across our productions as well as providing significant savings and future-proofing FOX SPORTS for decades to come.”
NEP Australia President Soames Treffry added, “NEP invests in technology to meet broadcasters’ needs and create the best value production solutions for them. Remote production is the industry’s future: centralised control rooms that can cover more than one project a day from multiple remote locations around the country.
“We’re ecstatic that our longstanding partner FOX SPORTS is the first Australian broadcaster to avail themselves of our Sydney and Melbourne hubs and the efficiencies, flexibility, comfort and on-air consistency they provide.”