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Live from the 2023 Ryder Cup: The NBC golf team shares studio operations with Sky Sports and goes remote

NBC Sports’ coverage is handled from control room in Stamford

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    NBC Sports coverage of the 2023 Ryder Cup from Marco Simone Golf and Country Club outside Rome has gone remote this year, the first time NBC’s golf team has worked this way from Europe since the 2021 Open Championship in the midst of the pandemic. In 2021, the team in Stamford, CT, worked out of two remote production trucks. This time around, the operation is based in the broadcaster’s PCR2 production-control room.

    NBC Sports’ Samantha Ruby (left) and Marc Caputo ensure that signals from Ryder Cup coverage get to the production team in Stamford.

    “We’re using PCR2 in Stamford, one of two venue control rooms in Stamford that were upgraded for golf,” says Marc Caputo, senior director, remote technical operations, NBC Sports. “It has been doing Golf Channel tournaments, but this is the first time it’s doing a show for [NBC Sport Lead Golf Producer] Tommy Roy, so there’s more people and some more toys.”

    Caputo says the world feed, produced by European Tour Productions (ETP), is at the center of NBC’s coverage.

    “We have additional cameras for NBC,” he notes, “including four RF cameras, a booth camera, and access to all the ETP cameras using EMG routers controlled in Stamford. In addition, ACS is providing three robotic cameras that are shared by ‘Live From’ and NBC and are also available to Sky. ‘Live From’ has the four Telemetrics cameras on the set, as well as a Rover camera.”

    There are also two LiveU units for “Live From” ENG coverage, such as walk-and-talk interviews with players during practice sessions. “We have an LU800 that provides four backup cell-based transmission paths,” Caputo notes, “as we were able to get some shared fiber connectivity with Sky.”

    The toys this year include Toptracer and ARL technology as part of the host feed, and an SMT NBCit Telestrator in Stamford allows the production team to zoom in on any lay of a ball. Also, there is additional EVS and Hawk-Eye support.

    “The Golf Channel shows have three EVS operators,” notes Caputo. “For this, we have four plus relief. We partner with ETP on the Hawk-Eye system and upgrade it, so we have access to all feeds like world-feed program and clean feed, all the host cameras, and four NBC RF cameras. We added two output channels for dedicated playout to Stamford. Sharing that Hawk-Eye system seems to be working out well.”

    Key to the efforts are eight router paths that EMG provides between the compound and Stamford, allowing EVS operators to have all the signals they need.

    “They give the Stamford team access to all the cameras and microphones so they can cut tees and greens as if they were onsite,” says Caputo. “We have another three sources that split control so that the TD can control the video and the audio department controls the audio.”

    All the necessary signals, he adds, are sent to Stamford via two NBC NEWBERT flypacks and an IP transmission kit that debuted in May at the PGA Championship in Rochester, NY.

    “NEWBERT One is here as usual for ‘Live From’ on Golf Channel,” says Caputo, “and we have Baby NEWBERT doing the unilateral coverage of the tournament. The challenge is getting all the transmission paths to Stamford at the same time. We’re using the IP transmission kit F (24 paths), and ‘Live From’ is using six J2K paths for transmission. Everything is first sent to Sky Sports in the UK and then gets handed off to Stamford.”

    This is also the first Ryder Cup where Golf Channel and Sky Sports have shared a full studio set with four cameras. Sky is responsible for set design, and the two lighting teams worked together to come up with a single lighting plan. Sky Sports makes use of the set first thing in the morning as the sun rises, and Golf Channel is on set between the sessions and then at the end of the day’s action.

    “At the Ryder Cup in Whistling Straits [in Wisconsin in 2021], we used a platform on the Sky Studio at night,” says Caputo, “but it wasn’t like this, where we are sharing the full studio: they’re using our Telemetrics robotic cameras, and we’re operating and shading the cameras here for them.”

    According to Samantha Ruby, remote technical manager, NBC Sports, NEWBERT engineers are switching tallies and routing signals to monitors. Coordination has been key: for example, on Thursday night, there was only a one-hour gap between when “Live From” went off-air and Sky Sports went on-air. “[Sky Sports has] a different stage crew,” she notes, “but all the back-of-house operators and engineers are the same.”

    Ruby adds that schedule coordination was one complicating factor when working remotely, especially with respect to time zones.

    Adds Caputo, “The Stamford engineering and technical-operations team needs to be applauded. They are supporting not only an event that requires them to start a shift at 9:00 at night but everything else that comes out of Stamford on a daily basis.”


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