Fox Sports Leverages TAG Video Systems Monitoring for World Cup

Fox Sports
(Image credit: Fox Sports)

DOHA, Qatar—TAG Video Systems is providing monitoring and visualization for Fox Sports as it covers the World Cup, Nov. 20-Dec. 18, the company said.

Fox Sports will present 64 World Cup matches live in the U.S. across Fox and FS1 with every match live streaming on the Fox Sports app and available for free on-demand as replays on Tubi.

The broadcaster selected TAG’s 100% IP software platform for all of its control rooms and operations multiviewers, monitoring the integrity of more than 1,200 sources driving more than 150 displays, TAG said.

The TAG monitoring and visualization platform is an integral part of a Fox Sports’ live-production system built in a different form factor. Built as two separate and redundant systems, Fox Sports’ joint event system is one of the largest transportable SMPTE ST 2110 live production flypacks in use. It can be quickly flown and setup between major events and allows Fox Sports to bypass intermodal transport by container ships.

“The key is the monitoring, being able to see everything coming in and going out and being able to QC it – that’s really the goal of the IBC as the central hub. It connects to the studio location; it connects to all the venues; it connects to our Los Angeles broadcast facility as well as our Tempe [Ariz.] broadcast facility,” said Kevin Callahan, vice president of field operations and engineering at Fox Sports.

The flypack system leverages IP and SMPTE ST 2110 technology, and relies on an all-fiber design that significantly reduces the size and weight of the kit. With a full control room, 40 tech core racks, and 10 venue racks, it travels fully pre-wired and was ready to go upon arrival in Doha. 

The 8-foot-tall tech core racks were built on top of shock-mounted airplane pallets. To fit in an airplane cargo hold, Callahan and Douglas McGee, consulting engineer for system design, came up with the idea of having custom racks that fold in half while fully wired to fit under the cargo hold height restrictions. 

The TAG multiviewer and monitoring platform enables Fox Sports operators to see everything in the ST-2110 IP workflow as well as JPEG-XS and UHD, which the broadcaster is using for transmission between the IBC and studio, venues and Fox Sports operations centers in Tempe and Los Angeles. In addition, a remote IT team will manage the entire network. As technology advances and new formats emerge, the system provides built-in room for growth to allow the broadcaster to keep pace with rapid changes in the industry, TAG said.

Using flypacks to transport live production systems may open doors to a whole new range of capabilities and reinvent how live production is done. The same systems can be transported from venue to venue, leading to an increase in familiarity and decrease in training time. Another advantage is the ability to add capabilities as workflows change, enhancing and improving the system, it said.

“Fox Sports tapped TAG for many reasons, not the least being our constantly evolving upgrades and improvements,” said TAG chief strategy officer Peter Wharton. “Since this system was built, we’ve launched numerous new features including our Bridge Technology that removes the complexity of routing the same stream to multiple locations with an ultra-efficient architecture. With a pure software solution on commodity hardware, TAG enables Fox to change and add to the system as their business needs evolve while saving capacity, resources and costs in the future, all without changing hardware.

“We worked seamlessly with Diversified, EVS and a number of other vendors to ensure that every one of Fox Sports’ financial and operational goals were met.”

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.