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The big changes to live sports production caused by COVID-19 will likely persist long after the pandemic is over, as networks have figured out how to deliver compelling coverage with reduced onsite staff. While the new distributed workflows might result in operational efficiencies and cost savings for networks, they are also likely to result in long-term job loss for freelance mobile production personnel.
That was the takeaway from “How Will Sports Production Look In A Post-COVID World?”, a TVNewsCheck webinar last week that assembled broadcasters, technology suppliers and mobile production vendors and was moderated by this reporter. (To watch the webinar, click here.)
Much like the news side of the television business, many of the technology changes that sports broadcasters rapidly adopted in response to COVID-19 were already underway before the pandemic hit. For several years major networks like Fox and ESPN have been expanding their use of remote-integration (REMI) or “at-home” workflows, where live camera feeds are backhauled via fiber to a broadcast center and the show is produced there instead of relying solely on an onsite production truck.
Mobile production giant NEP has also made a big foray into distributed workflows with its “Andrews Hubs” in Australia, two networked centralized production facilities in Sydney and Melbourne that allow production teams to remotely produce live events all over Australia without ever having to hop on a plane. Since launching the Andrews Hubs in March 2018, NEP has created similar facilities in the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland, along with a