UK Racetrack Ponies Up With SIS Live for Video Support

By Kevin Hilton

SVG Europe editor

The UK’s newest horse racing course, Great Leighs has expanded its video capabilities with facilities
provided by outside broadcast and uplinking company SIS Live. Races
from the east of England venue are already being shown in licensed
betting shops and on satellite and cable TV but now there will be
fuller OB and on-course coverage, plus an integrity service to allow
officials to examine any contentious incidents.

Great Leighs is
located in Essex between the towns of Chelmsford and Braintree and
staged its first race in April this year, becoming the first new
racecourse in the UK for 81 years. Before the opening the course
management agreed a multi-million pound, five-year contract with
Satellite Information Services (SIS), which provides TV programming and
information to betting offices around the UK. Races, many of which are
staged under floodlights, are also shown on the At The Races channel,
carried by Sky and cable networks.

Although SIS has been
involved in all races at Great Leighs since it opened, tomorrow will be
the first time the company has provided OB facilities. SIS Live is
providing trucks and after Christmas a vehicle will be chosen to be
based at the track. As well as providing feeds for TV broadcast the
company is also sourcing signals for the in-house video system, seen in
public areas including bars and boxes, and the critical integrity

This takes feeds from the same cameras as the TV
coverage but what the viewers don’t see once the director has cut away
continues to be recorded to make a complete record of a race from all
angles. If there is any dispute or an incident the race stewards can
examine this to come to an informed decision. Under the rules of the
British Horseracing Authority (BHA) integrity services are installed at
all UK race courses to provide complete transparency of proceedings and
form the basis of any stewards’ inquiry.

These systems are
standard definition right now but SIS racing director George Irvine
said the intention was to move to HD within two to three years.
“Because there are so many fixtures run at Great Leighs a HD gallery
will probably be built there,” he commented.

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