SVG Year in Review: March

The month of March kicked off with SVG Europe’s first-annual Football Production Summit and an up-close look at the preparations for the upcoming EURO 2012, but the rest of the month was all about March Madness. In Year Two of their 14-year, $10.8 billion deal for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, CBS and Turner Sports’ added a few bells and whistles to their coverage (including more super-slo-mos, action cams, virtual 3D graphics, and more), much to the delight of the NCAA. While the technical side of the production was impressive in itself, it was CBS and Turner’s operations side that was faced with the monumental task of handling logistics for 67 games on four networks.

In addition to the comprehensive coverage on the tube, the entire tourney was streamed on computers, tablets, and handhelds via March Madness Live. Turner Sports made social media a major piece of the revamped March Madness Live platform and Ball State Sports Link played a major role in driving this Social Arena feature.

But the Men’s Tournament was hardly the only postseason basketball action in March, as ESPN stayed busy covering the NIT, Big East Tournament, and Championship Week (including 93 events on a single Saturday on ESPN3). Meanwhile the Big Ten Tournament finale was thoroughly documented in BTN’s The Journey and every sports network and its mother covered every minute detail of Selection Sunday leading up to The Big Dance. And that’s all without even including ESPN’s multiplatform coverage of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

Although the first regular season crack of the bat didn’t occurred until April, March was chock-full of spring training excitement, as national and regional sports networks geared up for the season.

MLB Network led it off with a first-of-its-kind telecast that featured live audio content from miced players, managers, coaches, and umpires.  After the successful miced-up game, MLB set out to once again cover 30 Clubs in 30 Days. Fox Sports Media Group teamed up with MLB Network to produce an expanded weekly pregame show for Saturday Baseball Game of the Week. ESPN recruited former Red Sox manager (now Cleveland Indians dugout chief) Terry Francona to its Sunday Night Baseball coverage booth along with a host of new production elements.

On the RSN front, Fox Sports Nets got super social, YES Network celebrated its 10th anniversary with a full-scale move to file-based workflows, Comcast SportsNets looked to amp up their storytelling on the diamond, SNY commemorated 50 years of Mets magic, and Root Sports embarked on its second year through the MLB lineup.

March’s MLB headlines weren’t just on the network side though, ballparks around the country also bulked up their video efforts, headlined by the debut of Marlins Park in Miami (integrated by Alpha Video) and the Detroit Lions new control room and massive video display at Comerica Park (thanks to Diversified Systems and Sony).

Not to be forgotten, MLS kicked off its season in March. American soccer debuted on NBC Sports Network, while ESPN debuted a new bag of tech tricks for its 17th season of MLS coverage.

NEP also made its first big-splash acquisition of 2012 – and it would not be the last – acquiring Chicago-based mobile-production provider Trio Video.

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