Big South Conference selects NewTek TriCaster, 3Play and Vizrt graphics for ESPN3 broadcasts

Integrated TV-ready graphics, advanced replay capabilities, production consistency and future-ready NDI possibilities key purchasing decision

The Big South Conference is providing a new, fully integrated switcher-replay-graphics workflow to its 10 member universities to produce TV-ready content that meets the requirements for ESPN3 broadcasts and beyond. The new workflow is based on NewTek’s flagship TriCaster® 8000 multi-camera video production system equipped with TriCaster Advanced Edition software, NewTek’s 3PlayTM 440 sports production system for instant replay and slow motion, and state-of-the–art real-time 3D graphics with Vizrt’s Viz Trio. With NDI-enabled TriCaster Advanced Edition software, Big South Conference schools will be on the cutting edge of IP-based workflows with potential storytelling capabilities normally only seen in very large sports networks.

Key to the Big South’s goal of getting self-produced content on ESPN3 is TV-ready graphics. With Viz Trio, Big South Conference sports productions will be using the same graphics technology implemented by ESPN’s flagship station. NewTek and Vizrt have been collaborating since 2015 ensuring that Vizrt’s graphics engines integrate seamlessly with TriCaster via a network input. The resulting integration potentially reduces dedicated personnel for graphics operation and also frees up a hardware input on TriCaster that can be used for extra camera sources. The workflow negates the need for specialized SDI hardware while delivering pristine quality graphics viewers come to expect from sports broadcasts on television.

Also critical to improving the quality level of each Big South Conference broadcast is the upgrade to 3Play 440 for instant replay. In the dynamic world of fast-paced athletics, triggering replays from multiple angles in a timely fashion so commentators can convey every nuance of the game is paramount. 3Play 440’s advanced capabilities include tagging, bookmarking, macros, titling, social media publishing, as well as, network control directly from TriCaster.

“We are working diligently with ESPN to get evaluated for production readiness on every campus,” said Mark Bryant, director of Multimedia Development for the Big South Network. “Vizrt graphics are used by ESPN’s flagship station that now integrate with TriCasters we’ve grown up with and are very familiar with. We’ve been amazed at its constant evolution and improvement. Our members are very enthusiastic about the new workflow and the adoption of state-of-the-art graphics and instant replay. Audiences can expect to see a level of sophistication on par with that of a major sports broadcast network.”

Video production and broadcasting of collegiate sporting events is an important and evolving branding endeavor for the Big South Conference. Over the last decade, the Big South Conference has provided the basic switcher-replay-graphics elements to each member school to help ensure consistency and quality of every Big South-branded broadcast. Schools are free to enhance and expand to the extent they desire. In exchange, Big South schools are expected to produce a minimum number of home games including football, men’s and women’s basketball, soccer and volleyball, baseball, softball, and women’s lacrosse each year for distribution over the Big South Network (BSN). Many go beyond the minimum by producing broadcasts of other sports. Consequently, the Big South Network has grown along with each school’s ability to consistently produce quality, professional-looking live sports content that rivals anything on regular television. Currently, the Big South Network delivers more than 900 events annually.

“We’re very content with the model we’ve chosen and our ability to generate continuous improvement across the board in all Big South Network productions. NewTek has been the key to our evolution because they have been relentless in upgrading the functionality within TriCaster and we’ve grown right along with them,” said Kyle Kallander, commissioner of the Big South Conference. “We believe in strength in numbers, working to everyone’s collective advantage. These upgrades benefit all our members and they have come to expect it. We will also be able to brand content differently for ESPN3, BSN and others that will take content from us that will serve us very well in the future.”

Being TV-ready for the fall season isn't the only reason the Big South Conference is excited about the future.

“Given the new capabilities of NDI, we envision a point where we’re doing live ‘look-ins’ from one game to another, and having centralized studios on campuses,” added Bryant. “We don't have a limitless budget but we’re very intrigued with how to expand what we do based on our new ability to take in other sources from other places in each phase of production. Where we might go is really exciting and the possibilities are astounding. One step at a time.”

Founded in 1983, the Big South Conference has matured into a competitive leader in college athletics, actively pursuing excellence on the field of play and in the classroom. For more than 30 years, the League’s growing presence as an NCAA Division I athletic conference is evident by athletic accomplishments on the national stage, innovative marketing and media partnerships, increased television packages and quality athletic competition while intentionally fostering the academic, personal, social, athletic and leadership development of its student-athletes. Comprised of 10 member institutions for 2016-17, sharing a common geographic region and similar academic values and purposes, the Big South Conference’s institutions -- Campbell University, Charleston Southern University, Gardner-Webb University, High Point University, Liberty University, Longwood University, Presbyterian College, Radford University, UNC Asheville and Winthrop University -- have a remarkable history of achievement through the League’s 19 championship sports in addition to the academic success of its more than 4,000 student-athletes.

For more information on NewTek products, please visit http://www.newtek.com.