Big West Conference, Broadcast Management Group Up the REMI Ante for Hoops Championships at New Dollar Loan Center

Men's and Women's Tourneys were first live broadcasts from new Dollar Loan Center

In March, the Big West Conference Men’s and Women’s basketball championships became the first-ever live events to be broadcast from the brand-new Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, NV. Just as it has for several of its Conference Championships over the past year, the Big West tapped Broadcast Management Group to produce 15 games in five days using the company’s REMI production workflow and Broadcast Operations Center (BOC) in nearby Las Vegas.

“We were very pleased with the quality of the broadcasts on ESPN+ during the basketball championships and have heard nothing but positive comments,” says Big West Conference Commissioner Dan Butterly. “The BMG team did an exemplary job throughout, which allowed our participating teams and our student-athletes to shine.”

“For BMG, working with the Big West team has been amazing,” says BMG CEO Todd Mason. “Dan and his entire team have a great and noticeably clear vision of what they want to do, and our two teams have been able to capitalize on our collective expertise to meet and exceed the Big West goals over this last year.”

Inside the Workflow: Ops at Vegas BOC, REMI truck at Arena, and Across the Country

In order to produce the tourneys, BMG utilized centralized equipment and technology from its Broadcast Operations Center (about 30 minutes away from Dollar Loan Center) along with one of its REMI mobile units at the arena. BMG produced all the games out of the same control room, but having the flexibility provided by the BOC allowed the production team to leverage several different control rooms systems to prep and design while game broadcasts were taking place.

“Everything ran very smoothly, as designed,” says Mason. “This was another notable example of a major event successfully produced utilizing the advantages of the REMI workflow. A year ago, you would have thought of REMI [only] for smaller events, but now REMI can hold up to the pressures of back-to-back games day after day. BMG REMI projects are not limited to four or five camera games but can handle 10-15 camera games that include specialty equipment like Spidercams, jibs, Steadicams and more.”

Thanks to the REMI model, BMG was able to use the best available production talent from across the country including an AP/Graphic Operators in New York and another in Kansas City, a Transmissions/Comms Engineer in Chicago, and one of the game producers at his home in Arizona. People at home received a communication panel and BMG custom-designed webRTC multiview that has several different views depending on what the operator needs to see.  The rest of the control room team – mostly full-time staff – was at the BOC in Las Vegas.

“For this project we were able to take advantage of the…fast-growing production market in Las Vegas…but we also were able to cherry pick people we wanted for this project in Chicago, Arizona, New York, and Kansas with no concern of travel cost,” says Mason. “And for those people they were able to be a part of so many games in just five days without leaving their homes.”

The on-site team was staffed like a typical game with all local crew except for the on-air announce team, who traveled to the site. Mason adds that this production was actually less spread out across the country than 95% of its productions due to the Dollar Loan Center’s proximity to BMG’s BOC – allowing BMG to easily locate more staffers there.

This marked just latest in a long line of collaborations between the Big West and BMG, having already worked together on the conferences Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Women’s and Men’s Soccer championships broadcasts. Following the hoops tournaments in march, BMG also delivered a 30-minute recap show at the Women’s Golf Championship earlie this month and is set to serve the Big West’s Men’s and Women’s Tennis (April 28-May 1), Beach Volleyball (April 29-30, 2022), Men’s Golf (May 1-3, 2022), and Men’s and Women’s Track & Field (May 6-14, 2022) championships.

“The partnership [with BMG] has evolved in the sense that we learn something new with each broadcast and that makes every subsequent broadcast even better,” says Butterly. “We still have four championship broadcasts ahead of us, so we’re excited to work with BMG to tell the stories of our student-athletes and to see them compete at the highest level.”

Viva Las Henderson: Big West Looks to Continue to Build Legacy at Dollar Loan Center

This year’s Big West Men’s and Women’s basketball championships was a historic moment for both the conference with games livestreamed on ESPN+ as part of the new rights deal and the new Dollar Loan Center, which opened in March. The pair of tournaments not only marked the first live broadcasts from the venue, which is home to the Henderson Silver Knights (AHL affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights), it also marked the beginning of a renewed commitment by the conference to the Las Vegas area.

“We knew moving to the Las Vegas Valley after 20-years in Anaheim was a bold move, but we also felt it was the right move for us at this time,” says Butterly. “We were the first conference to hold a championship tournament in Las Vegas and so now we’ve come full-circle. Even without fans at our 2021 event, many of the coaches, players and administrators in attendance said that playing at Michelob Ultra Arena felt like a true championship experience.”

With support from our member institutions, the Big West explored various options in the Las Vegas Valley and elsewhere looking for the best experience for our student-athletes and fans. According to Butterly, The Dollar Loan Center seemed like the “perfect choice”: a brand new facility that was perfectly sized for the Big West along with the full support of the Vegas Golden Knights and Henderson Silver Knights organizations, as well as the City of Henderson.

“We are pleased with the results in the first year, but that doesn’t mean we’re satisfied,” says Butterly. “We’ve already started working on next year’s event. Now that we’ve successfully opened the building and established a long-term presence in the market, our member institutions and all of our partners now share a vision for how we can grow the event and make Henderson and The Dollar Loan Center a true destination for years to come.”

The Future of REMI: BMG Sees Bright Future for Remote Workflows

Since launching its REMI BOC and REMI mobile units in recent years, BGM has only seen the demand for solutions like those used by the Big West Conference grow. Mason says that with this growing demand comes the need for educated crew and engineers to work these REMI shows. Over the last year the company has worked with a number of packagers and freelances to help them successfully gotten up to speed.

“Many people don’t like to change, but we have focused on people who are more open to change to benefit their business and their careers,” says Mason. “We provide training and the equipment required to work successfully remotely.  The industry is largely going to this production model so for packagers and freelancers alike being proactive regarding embracing this change is going to become increasingly important.”

As an example of how these new production models benefit the entire live-broadcast ecosystem, Mason references how a director working a basketball game in Dallas would have to travel on a Monday, direct the game on Tuesday, and then fly home Wednesday. Under the REMI model, that same director working from one location could do three to six games that could be all over the country in that same time period with no travel cost to the broadcaster. The network would have access to that director for more games and the director would be able to earn more – all without leaving their home.

“Now multiply those times all the other positions that can work remotely by the technology BMG has perfected, that is a game changer,” says Mason. “Decentralized production teams benefit all parties, the network, the production company, and freelancers.”

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