Hall Serves Up Changes to Wimbledon Broadcast Centre to Better Meet Client Needs

For Mervyn Hall, broadcast liaison manager for The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club and Wimbledon, this year’s tournament is further proof that revamping the existing broadcast facility will continue to ensure that the technical and facility needs of broadcasters are met.

This year, for example, one of the most popular offerings in terms of facilities was a room that was revamped and has fairly simple workstations instead of full-blown technical capabilities.

Mervyn Hall, Wimbledon broadcast liaison manager

“It has desks with two chairs, a light bulb, Internet, two monitors, and a matrix switcher to handle two sources at any one time” says Hall. “Some of the broadcasters can do Wimbledon from that desk alone as they view two sources, record another two, and edit on a laptop. Then they dial up their home facility and play the content back.”

The revamped facility has been so popular that Hall says he could have easily signed up twice as many broadcasters. Call it a reflection of advances in technology that allow for easier remote operations in tight spaces as well as new economic realities.

“We’ve seen a bit of a cooling off for the fully blown presentation studios,” he adds. “Only the biggies like ESPN, NBC, and the BBC use them and most others prefer to be on the roof of the broadcast center with the simple laptop editing and dubbing area.”

Broadcasters are located in two primary locations: within the broadcast center that was built 10 years ago and also in a small parking lot for outside broadcast vehicles. During the tournament the parking lot is home to OB vehicles from SIS (which handles the BBC broadcast and World Feed) and Visions OB units on hand for NBC, and NHK trucks (GlobeCast is also on hand for the first time to service clients, operating out of a second OB yard). Meanwhile ESPN, the Tennis Channel, and other international broadcasters like Wowow, Nine Network, and others are located within the broadcast center.

“The OB yard is too small to meet all of the broadcasters needs and the broadcasters there are based on seniority,” adds Hall.

The broadcast center also appears to be too small and Hall is thinking of converting more studio space to technical facilities. By making more room for feeds like the World Feed, which is a non-revenue generating service, Wimbledon can free up space for revenue-generating clients like The Tennis Channel.

“Those revenues can help pay for the development in other areas of the facility,” he adds.

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