Systems integrator Megahertz Broadcast Systems has been entrusted with the technical fit-out of a complete new fast-turnaround sports production centre for Timeline Television. The new centre, built in part of the International Broadcasting Centre constructed for the London 2012 Games in east London, is home to the new BT Sport channels, going on air in time for the start of the 2013-14 football season next month.
Timeline Television, a leading provider of post production, outside broadcast and studio-based facilities for every major UK network, was appointed BT Sport’s partner. The project to design and build its new base was completed against a tight timescale with BT Sport launching on 1 August. The BT Sport facility will broadcast BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN. BT Sport will show 38 exclusively live football matches from the Barclays English Premier League, plus FA Cup, UEFA Europa League, as well as a range of new studio debate and information shows such as BT Sport Live.
As well as being a leading constructor of outside broadcast units for sport, Megahertz has wide experience in building studios and playout centres in the UK and around the world. It has partnered with Timeline Television in the past on sports centres, and was the obvious first choice for the project.
“With a start date in February and a need to hand over technical systems in June, we knew we needed a systems integration partner who had all the knowledge and experience in-house and would be ready to roll,” said Dan McDonnell, Managing Director of Timeline Television. “We worked with Megahertz on Racing UK so, although this project is an order of magnitude larger, we knew their philosophy was around delivering solid and reliable systems, on time and on budget.”
Builders gained access to the site in February 2013, with the first of the technical areas handed over to Megahertz in March. Operational areas were made available for operational familiarisation in June to allow rehearsals in July, ready for the on-air date of early August.
Greg Hoskin, Managing Director of Megahertz, added “This would have been a very challenging deadline for any project, but added to the complexity of it, we also had to work inside the shell of the London 2012 broadcast centre, which was stripped after the Games, and is part of a massive redevelopment project to convert these facilities into a huge public park.
“We hit the key milestones as planned,” he added. “We have huge experience in studio builds, largely outside the UK, so it is extremely exciting for us to be working on such a prestigious project nearer to home.”
Jamie Hindhaugh, Chief Operating Officer of BT Sport said “At the core of our new studios build is a spirit of collaboration that brings the best of industry – and sometimes competitors – working together toward a common aim: to make the BT Sport studios a world-class hub for the best ideas and talent. We believe talent attracts talent and our partnership with Megahertz as a partner has helped us to foster that mind-set.”
The new production centre includes three large studios with full production galleries, plus four smaller galleries for turnaround programmes, and 20 edit suites. All are linked by a master control room which supervises a large number of lines in and out of the centre. Key hardware for the project is being supplied by Autoscript (prompting equipment), Calrec (audio mixers), Evertz (multiviewers), EVS (servers), Shotoku (camera robotics), Snell (routers), Sony (cameras, production switchers and monitors, Riedel (talkback) and Vinten (camera support equipment and systems).