Turner Sports Takes to Stanley Cup Playoffs Ice for the First Time

TBS and TNT will carry up to 28 first-round games, including 16 in five days beginning Thursday

Turner Sports isn’t exactly easing into its first foray into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In the first year of a seven-year media-rights deal with the National Hockey League, Turner tonight will carry its first Stanley Cup Playoff Game ever. It will be the first of 28 first-round games, including 16 in the five days from this evening through Monday.

It’s a special time at Turner’s Techwood campus, which was made quite evident when the Atlanta headquarters received a visit from Lord Stanley’s Cup this week as part of the big postseason debut of TBS and TNT. Needless to say, it has the busy team behind the scenes fired up.

“It’s exciting,” says Chris Brown, director, technical operations, Turner Sports. “It’s an awesome opportunity to showcase what we can do and the value we can bring to the sport, to the league, to the fans. It’s always exciting to stand up something new. It feels like we are redoing the buzz that we had at the beginning of the season. Now it’s the next level. The messaging that we’ve been internally pushing is what we’ve been working up to all season long: to get to the playoffs. Now it’s time, and everybody’s paying attention.”

The first round is a heavy lift for both NHL national rightsholders, Turner and ESPN. There’s a load of games to produce, and, in the first round, each team’s regional sports network is still in the mix, which means that as many as four broadcasters could be carrying a game at a given time. That requires a lot of shared resources and facilities to streamline the process. Brown says it’s nothing that his team isn’t accustomed to from its work in the NBA.

Despite the crowded schedule, Turner plans a robust complement of production tools to give a fresh polish to its games. Up to 18 cameras at each game — as many as seven of them being super-slow-motion units — and up to 45 channels of EVS replay and record will be deployed. According to Brown, each crew has three Sony P50’s, five Marshall POVs, and cameras at the Ankle Cam positions cut out in the base of the corner boards. There are also plans to introduce high-frame-rate cameras to replace the standard in-net cameras. On the audio front, the Turner team expects to interview players on the ice and plans various levels of miking players pregame.

“To be able to execute at that same regular-season intensity and then to kick it up a notch, that’s the [challenge],” Brown says. “It’s both a technological and a logistical challenge: bringing it up to that level and at that cadence for that long.”


Turner will deploy up to 12 mobile units from NEP Broadcasting (EN2, ND5, ND6, Supershooter 32, Supershooter 6, Supershooter 5, Supershooter 1, and TS2) and Game Creek Video (Madison, Larkspur, and Nitro). In many cases, when Turner and ESPN are carrying games in the same series, the broadcasters will share the truck parked at the given venue. 

Turner Sports begins its coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight with a pair of doubleheaders on TNT and TBS. Game 2 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers is on TNT at 7 p.m. ET; Game 2 between the Washington Capitals and the Florida Panthers begins at 7:30 p.m. on TBS. Later, Game 2 between the Nashville Predators and the Colorado Avalanche hits TNT at 9:30 p.m., and Game 2 between the Dallas Stars and the Calgary Flames drops the puck at 10 p.m. on TBS. Coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. with an extended NHL on TNT Face Off Presented by Verizon pregame show.

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