New NFL Media HQ Leverages One Of World’s Largest Dante Audio Networks

NFL Media
(Image credit: NFL Media)

INGLEWOOD, Calif.—The NFL Media headquarters—a state-of-the-art IP media broadcast production center that opened less than a year and a half ago—leverages one of the world’s largest Dante audio networks in the world with some 18,000 Dante connections as well as connections to 31 direct fiber audio locations at SoFi Stadium here and six local direct fiber audio locations.

The ultramodern IP-based 4K and HDR-capable facility, home to NFL Network, NFL.com, NFL RedZone, the NFL app and other departments, is also connected to all 30 NFL stadiums via 10-Gbps interfaces and all 32 NFL practice facilities. 

Currently the facility, which employs more than 1,000 people, houses five main stages supported by numerous production control rooms, audio control rooms and workstations, has a post-production operation with 18 high-end edit rooms, two audio-sweetening suites and 90 VDI thin-client desktop editors accessible from anywhere in the facility or remotely, said Bruce Goldfeder, NFL Media vice president of broadcast engineering.

At the moment, NFL Media produces 1080p60 broadcasts with Dolby 5.1 audio, but the facility’s infrastructure can support 4K60 with Dolby Atmos 7.2.4 audio and is capable of scaling to future formats, including 8K and HDR.

To bring all of this together, the facility relies on nearly 18,000 Dante audio network connections, 16,000 MADI connections and more than 2,000 Riedel intercom channels. The Dante audio-over-IP platform enables audio and control data to be transported via standard 1GB Ethernet networks. More than 3,500 products from 500 manufacturers support Dante, which replaces point-to-point analog and digital connections with software-based routing, making it possible to send audio channels anywhere on the network.

For audio production, the various NFL Media studios are equipped with a mix of 11 System T Dante-enabled broadcast production audio consoles from Solid State Logic.  

“This is one of the largest, if not the largest, Dante installations in the world, and the NFL team picked SSL in part because we offer the most Dante-integrated broadcast production consoles available,” said Phil Wagner, senior vice president at Solid State Logic. “The Dante ecosystem is huge, and it continues to grow because Dante is incredibly solid, flexible and secure.”

The facility also uses Dante Domain Manager to secure audio networks and allow for seamless expansion of Dante systems over any network infrastructure. DDM is a complete network management software that enables user authentication, role-based security and audit capabilities for Dante networks.

“The Dante network and tools like Dante Domain Manager make it easy for us to quickly and easily reconfigure our audio workflows to bring together the equipment and people needed for any production,” said Goldfeder. “We needed a solid infrastructure for the productions we’re creating today, and we need to know that the system we have in place can grow with us and accommodate our future needs. Dante offers that level of scalability and flexibility.”

More information is available on the Audinate (opens in new tab) and Solid State Logic (opens in new tab) websites.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.