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NEP Inks Four-Year Extension For Wimbledon Championship Broadcast Services

Wimbledon
(Image credit: Wimbledon)

LONDON—NEP UK has inked a deal to extend its broadcast services partnership with the All England Lawn Tennis Club supporting broadcast delivery of the Wimbledon Championship for four years, the company said.

Having provided host coverage of the tennis championship since 2014, NEP worked with Wimbledon Broadcast Services this year to broadcast every match across all 18 courts for the first time. The coverage included center court shots in UHD High Dynamic Range (HDR).

Eleven of the courts at Wimbledon were crewed by camera operators and seven used a hybrid of operators and NEP’s Tr-Ace system. Coverage of this year’s event, June 27-July 10, was the first time the event has been held over 14 days with Middle Sunday now a permanent feature in the schedule. Broadcast coverage was provided by NEP UK using fully redundant IP technology, NEP said.

NEP UK also provided both host and unilateral coverage to the BBC and other broadcasters for Wimbledon, it said.

Working closely with the All England Club, NEP UK deployed more than 100 camera positions and 40 EVS servers to record and replay every ball played, producing coverage of every court. The feeds were then distributed by NEP to all RHB onsite, and passed to IMG, EBU and other rights-holding broadcasters around the world, it said.

Sony 3500 cameras were used to capture all of the action live in UHD from the courts. All courts were delivered in 1080 SDR 709 with center court also available in UHD HDR 2020 to deliver the optimum broadcast quality experience for fans at home. NEP’s Venus and Ceres units were used on Center and No.1 Court.

Fletcher Group’s Tr-ACE system ensured that the robotic camera heads can track all the action on the court. The Tr-ACE system uses a mixture of image recognition and LIDAR technologies to track players, which enables one operator to control all of the cameras as well as mix the show at the same time, it said.

With Tr-ACE technology, an operator simply taps the person of interest on the screen and then select whether a wide, mid or close-up shot of the player is desirable. Once done, pan, tilt, zoom and focus functions are all automatic, it said.

NEP sister company Creative Technology was onsite during the event running full audio RF operations. Staff used talkback, in-ear monitors and radio mic coverage across the 14-acre site to ensure smooth production. Creative Technology also ran the screens operating across Wimbledon, including all scoreboards on court and around the campus and screens for the Queue and The Hill, it said.

“NEP UK are all incredibly proud of our long and successful partnership with the All England Club in delivering The Championships," said Simon Moorhead, managing director of NEP UK Broadcast Services, NEP UK. "This is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world—[one] that has the eyes of the world watching. Our partnership completely transcends the pure provision of technical broadcast equipment and services. It is about our proven, collective understanding and collaboration in the pursuit of quality in all parts of the process, and our absolute commitment to provide a rock-solid operation, with agility and flexibility, whilst continuously innovating and improving,” 

More information is available on the company’s website (opens in new tab)

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.