The latest happenings from around the world of sports

Beckham’s first soccer match a milestone for ESPN

ESPN’s live coverage of David Beckham’s Major League Soccer (MLS) debut on Saturday, July 21 (where the Los Angeles Galaxy lost to the host Chelsea F.C. of the English Premier League at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA) was the sports network’s largest technical initiative ever for a single U.S. domestic soccer event, and was its most-viewed MLS telecast as well.

The game coverage included 19 HD cameras, including Skycam, super slow-mo cameras and robotic goal cams; and Beckham Cam, a player-isolation camera focusing on Beckham’s every move throughout the match. Beckham Cam was also featured extensively online at

There was also a Celebrity Cam, a wireless steady-cam identifying celebrity fans and getting their reactions to Beckham’s moves.

The telecast was seen in an average of 947,000 million TV homes, according to Nielsen Media Research data. The telecast, which featured Beckham playing for 16 minutes, was also the most-viewed and highest-rated program of the night on ad-supported cable networks among men 18-49 and 25-54 years old.

TNT uses Chyron graphics for 2007 NASCAR coverage

Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System and Time Warner, upgraded 13 of its Chyron HyperX graphics and playout systems to include HD and Lyric PRO advanced creation software for its recently completed 2007 NASCAR on TNT Summer Series.

Eight of the systems are based in TNT’s Network Operations Group and five provide graphics from Turner Studios. A sixth HyperX HD/SD switchable system for the studios was purchased in May. The HyperX units will provide sophisticated graphics for the six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races on TNT, which are currently being broadcast in HD across the country.

The NASCAR on TNT races began in June with the Pocono 500 and ended July 15 with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race from Chicago. Graphics produced by the HyperX systems for each of the races included an assortment of lower-thirds and full-screens including trivia questions, player and team comparisons, game summaries, historical stats, leader boards, scoreboards and promos.

For TNT, the HyperX maintains the fast editing functionality of a standard character generator with the added features of a full 3-D rendering computer, according to Tom Sahara, senior director of IT and remote Services for Turner Sports.

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NTT Electronics helps deliver Tour de France in HD

The Societe Francaise de Production (SPF), one of the largest production studios in France that also broadcasts numerous sports events, has purchased HD MPEG-2 encoder/decoder products from NTT Electronics for live broadcasting of sports events.

SFP used the NTT Electronics H5000 Series to broadcast the Tour de France, which began on July 7. SFP has already been using NTT Electronics’ H3000 Series HD MPEG-2 encoders since last year, when it was used to broadcast the French Open tennis tournament live in HD.

The half-rack size H500 and H3000 series models support the 1080i and 720p HD formats, as well as 480i for SD. They also enable up to two-system/eight-channel audio encoding. These models are ideal for sports broadcasting, with a 1RU height, compact half-rack size, DC 12V operation and light weight (8.8lb). NTT Electronics also offers the H5100 series with a redundant AC power supply.

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