In a business where most of its work is done outdoors, it’s no surprise that weather plays a huge role in how Broadcast Sports Inc. (BSI) prepares for events week to week. The company provides wireless audio, video and communications technology and support for live broadcasts of golf, racing, marathons, parades, sailing, surfing and skiing competitions, and a variety of other sport and entertainment events. Many shows involve setting up equipment in exposed areas, running thousands of feet of fiber-optic cable over varying types of terrain and deploying cameras and microphones to the far reaches of a particular location.
Certain environments regularly present challenging conditions that BSI has become adept at handling. For many years, the company has provided wireless technology to ESPN for the Winter X Games. As an event that takes place primarily on the side of a mountain, it’s one where deploying wireless equipment is extremely beneficial. It’s also one where our team of technicians must take special precautions to ensure that the equipment is still fully functional even in below-freezing temperatures. One of the simplest things the team does is to store and prepare all of the camera equipment in temperatures at or near the external temperature. This prevents condensation from building up and freezing on the camera lenses which occurs when constantly moving between warm and cold environments.
Although we monitor and prepare for forecasted weather conditions prior to arriving at a venue, there’s always a chance that unexpected weather events may arise. The most notable example recently was the “derecho” that hit last year’s AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD. Although the forecast accurately predicted the approaching storm, the region was completely unprepared for its magnitude. With winds reaching 80mph, heavy rain and intense lightning, the storm left millions in the area without power. Downed trees and debris covered the course and surrounding roads, leaving tournament organizers to delay play and prohibit spectators from entering the course.
Despite the severity of the storm, the field team arrived at the course and, as expected, found all of its equipment in place and fully functioning, ready for the day’s broadcast. They credited their careful worst-case scenario preparations and a little bit of good luck for the outcome. When the network broadcasts went live, our technology and RF infrastructure allowed the camera operators to travel freely around the course without being inhibited by the obstacles that resulted from the storm.
“Our teams take great pains to ensure that every show goes smoothly,” said Peter Larsson, General Manager, BSI. “We can’t control what Mother Nature will send our way, but we have strict quality control standards in place that mitigate the effects of an incident like this. After 30 years in the business, we’ve seen our share of weather-related issues so we are always prepared for the worst.”