The Pac-12 Conference launched a new group of seven sports television networks dedicated to the coverage of sports and other academic interests of the universities within the conference. Diversified Systems was contracted to provide consulting, design and build services in December 2011, to be operational by August 2012. The 70,000sq-ft facility is located in the heart of San Francisco.
The networks feature 24-hour coverage of classic-to-current Pac-12 sports, including Olympic sports. In its first year alone, the network plans to deliver 550 live sports events. To do this, the conference provides fiber connectivity between the Pac-12’s schools and its San Francisco studio. Up to seven simultaneous live feeds will be centralized and provided to the linear or digital networks.
The timeframe given to all parties was unusually short, at just over seven months, and needed to be ready for the beginning of the conference Fall 2012 football schedule. This is a little less than half of what would typically be planned. Since the same schedule applied to the general contractor, it meant the systems integrator (Diversified) would be installing equipment while the contractor was still putting up walls.
The studio is located on the second floor of the building. To obtain optimal studio height, the slab at the third floor was cut out and additional reinforcement added back into the building to carry the load outward from the open area. The structural engineer devised a plan of gluing fiber reinforcement to the floor at intervals below the studio floor to carry the load. Similar reinforcement was added to heavy load areas in the CER.
The CER uses hot-aisle containment and in-row cooling. Cooling equipment consists of multiple small units by APC, integrated into each row of racks, rather than the typical large CRAC units pumping air into the entire environment. Local circuit breakers at each rack are used rather than a centralized breaker panel. This allows for any voltage/amperage needed directly at each rack.
Diversified built the infrastructure as a 3G backbone, including cabling and much of the “glue” equipment. Choosing a single manufacturer — Evertz — for router, multiviewer, tally and “glue” allowed the use of a single control network (VistaLink) over much of the technical domain.
Aside from the aggressive launch schedule, with the amount of quick turnaround of broadcasts and post-produced events, a fully file-based mode of operation was necessary to meet this schedule. Production is automated using Dalet Sports with Data Direct Networks as the tier-1 and tier-2 storage platform. Dalet was chosen for its ability (and willingness) to match the needs of the client. Leon Schweir, SVP of productions and operations at Pac-12 Enterprises, said, “There are other great products out there that are good at the MAM, or they are good at the server-based part, but the editing part falls off to some other vendor, or they don’t have the interface for logging. So, for us, we have a system in Dalet that covers everything from start to finish.”
Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, saw the successful launch of the network, promptly (as promised) at 6 p.m. PDT.