Broadcast Services International Supports NBA All-Star Commentary Needs

Multiple clients speaking multiple languages keeps things fresh after 19 years

The number of international rightsholders on hand for NBA All-Star Weekend continues to grow, and it was up to Broadcast Services International (BSI), based in Burlington, ON, to make sure 14 commentary positions spread across three sections in the arena were operating properly.

Mike Hart (left) and Locke Eady of BSI helped 14 international rights holders meet their on-site commentary needs.

Mike Hart (left) and Locke Eady of BSI helped 14 international rightsholders meet their onsite commentary needs.

“We supported it with fiber terminal gear and video distribution for the world program,” says Locke Eady, VP, production, BSI. “We had five commentary cameras for rightsholders for all pre/post[game] and halftime studio hits.”

BSI had a crew of eight to support the growing onsite presence of international-rights holders. It was the company’s 19th year working with the NBA.

“In addition to commentary systems, international broadcasters are wanting to integrate their own unilateral cameras for their announcers,” says Eady. “Many of the world’s broadcasters have slowly migrated to IP codecs, while some still rely on a hybrid interface as a backup.”

Chinese broadcasters had an increased presence this year with four on hand, including CCTV and TenCent, the latter having a major OTT distribution deal with the NBA in China.

“They were set up courtside with a full commentary position, Q3 Qball camera, and lights,” adds Eady.

Among the challenges BSI always faces are the amount of space for all the broadcasters and the amount of equipment needed for each.

“With cameras, lights, monitors, and commentary boxes, things can get tight sometimes,” says Eady. “Most of the time, we don’t know what the positions look like until we get there. We always pack various mounts, stands, and equipment to be able to adapt to the broadcaster’s needs and the space provided.”

It also can be a bit like working for the United Nations.

“Everyone is slightly different with different requests and requirements,” notes Eady. “You add in up to 15 different languages that you don’t speak, and your communication skills become very creative.”

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