Launched in 1998, Rogers Sporstnet has grown to become Canada's #1 sports Media Brand, using TV, Radio, Online and Mobile to connect Canadian sports fans to their favourite teams and athletes. The multiplatform brand consists of four regional and three nationally-distributed Sportsnet channels, sportsnet.ca, three regional Sportsnet radio stations, Sportsnet NOW live streaming service and the Sportsnet app.
Sportsnet is the official NHL national multimedia rights holder in Canada, and is also the official regional television broadcast rights holder for the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks.
Beyond the NHL, Sportsnet is the Canadian leader in MLB television broadcasts, carrying 162 Toronto Blue Jays games, plus the MLB Postseason and World Series.
Other Sportsnet properties include Toronto Raptors, NBA, Grand Slam of Curling, Rogers Cup, CHL and the MasterCard Memorial Cup, WWE, IndyCar, Premier League, Bundesliga and FA Cup.
Sportsnet delivers hundreds of hours sports programing to a variety of platforms, presenting a number of challenges related to replay for production. First, Sportsnet required a platform that would integrate with the existing mobile replay systems in order to efficiently transfer files to and from mobile units to the control room for live television studio use.
Second, Sportsnet wanted a replay platform that could dynamically scale to meet the size of any in-studio and remote production. The studio and remote production team needed the ability to perform multiple tasks that would help the efficiency in the control room in an always changing and evolving environment.
Third, viewers are accustomed to high quality sports broadcasts with engaging replays, in-depth analysis and cutting edge highlight packs. Sportsnet needed a replay platform capable of providing operators with the necessary tools to execute these requirements, often in a very short turnaround time.
Finally, Sportsnet employs a large number of staff and freelance operators with varying degrees of experience to accommodate it's ever growing live production line-up. Sportsnet needed a replay platform with an interface that would provide a shallow learning curve for new operators, while at the same time provide advanced tools that would allow experienced operators to paint a perfect story.
The solution was to leverage Evertz' comprehensive DreamCatcher™ Production Suite to provide Sportsnet with the most robust, scalable and modern IP-based replay system in the industry. Combining DreamCatcher™'s rapid editing capabilities, enhanced production workflow and intuitive touch interface allowed Sportsnet's replay operators to be true craftsmen within their industry.
The ability to adapt and integrate with existing replay systems for content exchange is utilized by DreamCatcher™'s distributed transcoding model. Sportsnet was able to import and export content from their mobile units to their studio system at a faster rate than ever before, making the turnaround time for content output almost instantaneous. The DreamCatcher™ solution provided unparalleled content ingest capabilities that Sportsnet tested and benchmarked prior to purchase.
The DreamCatcher™ platform was specifically designed in a modular approach to provide a resource pool that clients can dynamically allocate for different requirements. Sportsnet took advantage of this design to allocate resources for each production as needed, changing the size and parameters of their control rooms on-demand.
Creating a replay platform that was familiar for the operators to use was the next approach Evertz took in facilitating the Sportsnet control rooms.
Four key technologies were recruited to build Sportsnet's scalable replay platform and file transfer network in order to fulfil its remote and in-studio production requirements. These technologies include:
DC-Media Suite intelligent content management system
DC-PLAYOUT with primary clip playback server, intuitive touch interface and integrated multiviewer
DC-400E baseband replay server and production suite, complete with a familiar controller design and up to 16x HD channels, 10x 3G channels or 3x UHD (4K) channels
Evertz IPX SDVN network for immediate distribution and access to all content on the DreamCatcher™ platform
The DreamCatcher™ platform provides a familiar controller design that makes mastering of the system seamless for existing operators and the intuitive touch interface provides new operators with a low threshold for learning the platform.
Sportsnet now has the ability to turn around content for any of their live event productions or in-house studio shows in an incredibly fast pace. This allows the Sportsnet production teams to track all of the developing stories simultaneously, giving the in-home audience the most enjoyable viewing experience offered.
The advanced highlight editing tools, graphical organization tools, zooming and split screen features are utilized by Sportsnet to provide industry leading production value for their studio shows. DreamCatcher™ is now an essential part on every major broadcast at Sportsnet
Finally, Sportsnet required a solution that would provide them with a simple migration path to new formats and standards. To execute this, the DreamCatcher™ platform is license-free and comes fully ready to support 4K-UHD, HDR and SMPTE-2110 with minimal impact on overall design. Sportsnet now has a system that can be modified to support their needs well into the next decade!