The latest happenings from around the world of sports

UK’s ITV uses Crystal Vision technology for soccer telecasts

Alston Elliot, a UK-based sports production company, is using Crystal Vision’s Clip N Key, which allows a selected clip to be played repeatedly for soccer telecasts. The technology made its debut during ITV’s coverage of the Manchester United vs. Aalborg UEFA Champions League game, where it was used to replay the same wipe on the halftime action replays.

The production company needed extra video sources for its video switcher to accommodate more feeds for the start of the soccer season. The Clip N Key unit enables Alston Elliot to load targa graphics files and convert them into three different SD wipes in Crystal Vision’s graphics format (with a fill and key signal of each). The Clip N Key was also used in a live studio broadcast from ITV's London Studios, with the UEFA Champions League game shown live on ITV4 followed by highlights on ITV1. Clip N Key was connected to the London studios’ production switcher with GPIs used to trigger the star effect wipe to enhance the action replays at halftime.

Designed for live sports programming, Clip N Key features a 4GB multiport video store that holds 30 seconds of moving HD video (15 seconds if it includes a key signal) or 150 seconds of SD video (75 seconds with key signal). If a key output is not required, Clip N Key can generate two independent video clips from its two outputs.

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Telecast’s Rattler supports LED displays at Denmark’s Vejle Stadium

Danish equipment dealer A Teknik has provided a comprehensive fiber-optic network using Telecast Fiber Systems' Rattler digital video transmission modules to drive LED boards throughout the newly completed Vejle Stadium, home to Denmark's Vejle Boldklub (Vejle BK) soccer team.

The new Vejle Stadium seats 10,000 and features three state-of-the-art Lighthouse Technologies LED screens supplied by Danish LED display specialist LEDconstruction. The installation features the first-ever LED stadium display wider than 8800 pixels, with 92 Lighthouse panels forming a 1m-high strip running the perimeter of the stadium.

LEDconstruction enlisted a local fiber engineer to install fiber cables to A Teknik's specifications and incorporated Telecast Rattlers to supply feeds for the longer runs within the stadium. Because a standard mini-USB connector powers the lightweight Rattlers, A Teknik was able to use an off-the-shelf USB hub to supply power to the multiple Rattler transmission units. As a result, LEDconstruction was able to meet its deadline to conduct the pilot demonstration of the LED system after beginning the fiber installation the previous morning.

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North American Sports Network rebranded ESPN America

ESPN’s North American Sports Network (NASN) will be rebranded ESPN America starting Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009. The network will continue to bring North American sports to fans across Europe and the Middle East.

ESPN America will broadcast more than 800 live and near-live sports events each year from the MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA football and basketball. ESPN America will also show the Super Bowl in a number of countries across Europe including Germany, France, the Netherlands and Poland.

Since ESPN acquired NASN in 2007, the network has expanded to 14 million households across 43 countries, with an additional 3 million subscribers in the Middle East.

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Super Bowl tickets reach $1000

The official price of Super Bowl XLIII tickets will reach $1000 for the first time ever. The NFL confirmed that 25 percent of the tickets for the Feb. 1 game at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, FL, would be priced at $1000.

The price for last year’s Super Bowl game in Glendale, AZ, between the New England Patriots and New York Giants were priced at $700 and $900, up from $600 and $700 the year before.

Overall, the official price for 17,000 suite and club seats will be $1000 each. Another 53,000 tickets will go for $800, with the remaining 1000 at $500. At last year’s game, the average price of tickets on StubHub, the online reseller, was $4300.

Ticket prices for the first Super Bowl, played at the Los Angeles Coliseum 43 years ago, were $6, $10 and $12. They went over the $100 mark in 1988 and have increased regularly since.