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University of Minnesota Slows Motion With Tightrope ZePlay

ST. PAUL, MINN. – TCF Bank Stadium is home to University of Minnesota Gophers football, one of 23 varsity sports teams on campus competing in the storied Big Ten Conference. The recently opened stadium influenced HD upgrades to a control room shared with three arenas. The upgrades include two Tightrope Media Systems ZePlay solutions to drive slo-mo instant replay and sports video to more than 1,200 screens.

The two ZePlay systems provide 16 channels of live replay (eight in, eight out) for the nearly 100 annual sporting events covered from this control room. Tadd Wilson, scoreboard and video operations manager for University of Minnesota Athletics, said that this high-channel capacity was a big reason for choosing ZePlay over competitive systems, adding that it enhanced his ability to create sequences, load and export clips. These operational benefits especially stood out during the evaluation process.

Wilson and his team use ZePlay predominantly for in-house play to engage home and visiting team fans on game-changing events, from touchdowns in TCF Bank Stadium to hockey goals in Mariucci Arena. ZePlay instantly triggers replays on-demand across large LED score boards, displays and monitors. Each venue includes more than 300 TVs and displays located in concourses, suites, premium areas, concession stands and other locations.

ZePlay provides Wilson and his team with a built-in multiviewer that allows operators to follow action and monitor many angles on one display. Also, since the control room is manned during games by a combination of full-time staff, freelancers, and students (part-time employees from various majors), the simple learning curve and ongoing overall ease of use was significant.

ZePlay’s tagging and key play marking options provide quick filtering and file recall from built-in storage to assist with speedy highlight package creation, Tightrope said. Operators archive game-day footage for highlights, player-of-the-game features and posting videos online. Files are digitally exported to long-time archives without complex recording processes, and can be recalled and played out as high-quality 4:2:2 HD files.