The latest happenings from around the world in sports

Versus renews contract for Tour de France coverage

Satellite TV-delivered sports network Versus has signed a multiyear extension of its agreement with the Amaury Sport Organization (organizers of the race) to cover the Tour de France bicycle race through 2013.

Versus will provide 14 hours per day of coverage this year, starting on July 5 and going live at 8:30 a.m. EST. The network has covered the race since 2001. Versus is set to air the Alps-to-Paris race behind-the-scenes features, new on-screen statistics and cameras in team cars during key stages.

GlobeCast delivers key sporting events from Asia

GlobeCast is managing the contribution and delivery feeds for two major sport events in Asia, the Beijing Olympic Games and Singapore’s first F1 night race. GlobeCast is a subsidiary of France Telecom.

In August, for the Olympic Games, GlobeCast will provide SD/HD-ready satellite services and multiple uplinks for rights-holding broadcasters. This includes the world feed for the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union’s sport pool, which comprises Asian terrestrial broadcasters and cable operators; multiple unilateral feeds for ATV-Hong Kong, I-Cable-Hong Kong and Solar Entertainment-Philippines; as well as TV Globo in Brazil and ESPN in the United States.

GlobeCast will also offer live standup positions, playout and other facilities in Beijing to other broadcasters and news agencies worldwide.

Then, in September, GlobeCast will provide HD-ready flyaways and mobile MCRs for coverage of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, live from Singapore.

The company will also offer on-site production and distribution services to allow international broadcasters to cover race in its entirety for audiences worldwide.

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New HD trucks in Germany rely on Thomson

Mobile facilities company Studio Berlin Adlershof GmbH (SBA), based in Berlin, has upgraded one of its largest SD OB vans (Ü4) to full HD operation using a variety of multiformat Grass Valley production equipment from Thomson.

SBA, which offers studio facilities and helps broadcasters televise a wide range of live sport and entertainment events, has ordered six LDK 8000 Series HDTV WorldCam cameras and one 3x HDTV SuperSloMo camera, two Kayak HD switchers (one 4 M/E and one 2 M/E version), and a Concerto HD video router configured with a 128 x 128 matrix to handle both SD and HD signals. Both Kayak HD switchers will be installed on the same 54ft OB van in two separate production areas. Thomson originally built Ü4 as an SD OB van.

SBA’s new Thomson Grass Valley HD equipment in Ü4 can produce projects in both the 720p and 1080i HD formats. This upgrade and multiformat capability is important because public broadcasters in Germany will start HD transmissions in 2010.

SBA holds a 49 percent stake in Media Mobil GmbH (MMG), a live sports and entertainment production company based in Leipzig, Germany. MMG has also ordered a new 54ft HD OB van, complete with Thomson Grass Valley HD equipment. This close relationship will enable the two companies to join forces on some projects.

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