Azzurro Leads NY Giants Into Uncompressed HD
The New Meadowlands Stadium will not be the only upgrade for the New York Giants next season. The team can now transmit uncompressed HD video to media outlets all over the country directly from its training center in East Rutherford, NJ, thanks to a newly installed Azzurro HD video fiber circuit.
The dedicated circuit connects the Giants’ training center to Azzurro’s all-digital ASI, SDI, and HD video switching facility at “The Hub” in New York City, from which the feed can be sent to local and national broadcasters around the country. The circuit was completed to go live on April 15, just in time for the NFL Draft the following week.
“They were already doing interviews at the training center [during the Draft] and sent them over the circuit to us,” says Mark Lowden, VP of sales for Azzurro HD. “We then sent it off to different [broadcasters] that are connected to our switching center.”
The 199,000-sq.-ft., 20-acre training facility is located just west of the new stadium and opened prior to the 2009 NFL season. Previously, the Giants used a standard-definition fiber circuit that ran from the training center to the old Giants Stadium, from which video could be transmitted to outside media outlets.
“When they built the [training center], they had some campus fiber that went to the old Giants stadium. That’s how they would get out, but it wasn’t in HD,” says Lowden. “It’s a big step up in technology. To go from standard def to uncompressed HD — that’s a huge jump up.”
The circuit is part of a three-year deal that gives Azzurro exclusivity over all of the facility’s fiber transmission. All interviews, live shots, press conferences, and other content transmitted from the venue over fiber will run on Azzurro’s HD network.
“It’s very exciting for us,” says Lowden. “We’re very happy that the Giants think enough of us to not only let us put the circuit in but also commit to a three-year agreement where we have exclusivity fiber-wise out of the venue.”
Azzurro has already used the circuit for the Draft and plans to bill broadcasters $400 per hour for receiving the feed from the Giants practice facility.
“The end-user side is where we generate the revenue,” says Lowden. “If CBS wants to do an interview with a Giants player, they would call the Giants media department and set up the interview. Then CBS would call us to book the Giants circuit for [a specific time slot]. We would then charge CBS for the use of that line.”
The Giants’ fiber circuit represents another addition to Azzurro’s growing footprint in the sports market. The company currently operates two HD lines out of the new Yankee Stadium for Japanese broadcaster NHK, which holds the New York Yankees rights in Japan. In addition, Azzurro is now in its second season serving as the switching center for NBA International, which is based in Secaucus, NJ.
“In terms of venues, we have the Giants and the Yankees right now,” says Lowden. “But I can tell you that we are also working on other sports-venue projects.”