The latest happenings from around the world of sports

Super Bowl still the best draw

Even in tough economic times, the Super Bowl is still the only platform that can reach the largest mass audience across all demographics at one time. NBC, the exclusive broadcaster this year, said 90 percent of the Super Bowl ads had sold as of mid-January. Most ads have sold for about $3 million per 30-second spot — an all-time high price for the Super Bowl. The big game is the most watched event in the nation, with about 100 million U.S. viewers.

Brian Walker, senior director of communications at NBC Sports, said the Super Bowl telecast remains “the most powerful vehicle for an advertiser to promote its brand and products."

Tricaster streams Spurs’ nonprofit event

The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs chose Newtek’s TriCaster portable live production system to produce and stream live its 21st Annual Tux N’ Tennies Dinner and Auction Friday, Jan. 9, on the team’s Web site,

The entire event, which featured dinner, a live auction and live entertainment from "Paint Jam" artist Dan Dunn, was produced and streamed using a NewTek TriCaster system owned by the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.

With TriCaster, anyone can produce network-style live video and distribute the event simultaneously to Web, video and projector. A single operator or small team can produce a live show while switching between as many as six cameras with two VCRs, multichannel effects and NewTek’s LiveSet virtual sets. In addition to the San Antonio Spurs, TriCaster has been used by many sports organizations to provide extended programming and content to their audiences.

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ESPN brings in mountain of gear for Winter X Games

ESPN will incorporate more than a dozen mobile production trucks (provided by NEP Supershooters), 50 HD cameras and 75,000ft of fiber-optic cabling to cover the 2009 Winter X Games, airing live on ESPN and ABC, Jan. 22-25. The event this year, using more fiber than ever before, is being held across several venues in Aspen and Snowmass, CO.

In addition, two production trucks from Total RF will supply wireless spectrum management.

Production equipment, including Panasonic cameras and EVS servers, will be set up in a variety of non-traditional staging areas, including a hotel parking lot, ski parking lot and parked on the side of a mountain. All of the trucks on-site will use a total of six Calrec Omega audio consoles (handling more than 300 microphones) for stereo and surround-sound audio production.