Live from Wimbledon 2015: ESPN’s Terry Brady discusses distribution boost and extra online content
Currently in its fourth year as the sole US rightsholder at Wimbledon, ESPN has again rolled out a production that mixes world-feed content with a large deployment of unilateral production elements to service the ESPN/ESPN2/ABC linear telecasts, ESPN3 streaming, multi-viewing experience (for DirecTV and other rightsholders), Canada’s TSN, ESPN International rights’ holders, ABC’s Good Morning America, ESPN.com…and many more besides.
ESPN’s set-up at Wimbledon has already been the subject of an extensive report courtesy of SVG US’s Jason Dachman (https://sportsvideo.org/main/blog/2015/06/espns-multipronged-wimbledon-production-goes-above-and-beyond-linear-telecast), but on Day 3 of this year’s tournament SVG Europe caught up with ESPN remote productions operations director Terry Brady for a helicopter overview of this year’s developments…
How would you describe the approach going into this year’s event?
We always look to improve year to year, and in this regard we are building on our networking distribution to deliver more feeds around the world than in the past. The Club has taken steps to provide more court coverage, so that has been a driving force this year, and we are also always looking for other platforms to improve our offer – the intention being to deliver the best possible content on screen.
The number of outbound transmission paths has increased this year…
Yes, we are up to 15 for 2015, which is several more than last year. But the really major new aspect is that we have expanded our digital side and are taking 16 court feeds from IMG at Stockley Park and sending them for distribution back to the US. When it gets to the US hub it goes out to ESPN Brazil, ESPN Argentina, ESPN Caribbean and so on, as well as our dot.coms and social media.
Don’t you have more cameras to choose from too?
Yes. The great thing is that the AELTC has provided some new beauty cameras around the site that we have been using, in addition to some more HawkEye automated camera systems on some extra outer courts. It all adds up to more options for the viewer, and if you are at home and have the internet you have a greater opportunity to find players you might not have seen on the linear network.
Can we put some numbers on the actual volume of content being provided?
For the domestic network we are looking at about 140 hours of content, which is roughly the same as last year. On the digital side, we are up to around 1700 hours, up from 1000 last year.
What is ESPN’s overall philosophy when it prepares to decamp to SW19 each year?
It’s really the same as what we are trying to accomplish for all events, which is to take each one at a time and do the best we can to bring the best possible experience to the viewers. We are doing lots of wonderful ENG work and editing to enhance our product, and when you look at our coverage the extent of that effort becomes abundantly clear.