NBA All-Star Weekend on TNT Sports: its most comprehensive content lineup ever and a bold technical deployment

During the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 18, which was simulcast on TNT, TBS, and B/R Sports on Max, along with truTV and B/R Sports on Max hosting the NBA All-Star Game ALTCAST presented by Jordan Brand, a notable deployment of technical resources was observed. Various technologies and devices were employed for the broadcast, including more than 120 cameras utilized to capture the skills competitions, games, studio shows, concerts, practices, alternate broadcasts, and more. Chris Brown, WBD Sports VP of Technology and Operations, confirmed the deployment, highlighting the presence of approximately 31 cameras at Lucas Oil Stadium and around 40 at the Fieldhouse for the game on Sunday. These cameras, alongside the entertainment and studio show sides, totaled around 117 cameras between both venues.

This year’s NBA All-Star Weekend marked a departure from previous years, as it was the first time since 2015 that the NBA All-Star Game and NBA All-Star Saturday Night events were not located in the same building. Lucas Oil Stadium hosted NBA All-Star Saturday Night, while Gainbridge Fieldhouse hosted the games on Friday and Sunday. Brown emphasized the substantial resources required for such an arrangement, indicating the need for each compound to be self-contained.

The technical setup involved various units and trucks. At Lucas Oil Stadium, NEP’s ND2 units handled the All-Star Saturday Night broadcast, with NEP Supershooter 6 managing the studio show. NBA TV relied on Lyon Video’s 11 unit, while X/Twitter produced content out of Live Media Group trucks. Similarly, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, NEP’s EN1 units were at the core, alongside Supershooter 5 for entertainment content, Lyon Video 14 for NBA TV, and another Live Media Group truck for X/Twitter. Mobile TV Group also played a significant role, with its Flex systems assisting NBA Entertainment and the international feed.

Last year’s introduction of NEP’s TFC (Total Facility Control) IP networking platform continued to be utilized. The seamless integration of technology facilitated smoother operations this year, with Brown noting the early preparation of trucks and networks. Although there were discussions about creating one large network, logistical challenges necessitated two separate TFC networks.

A notable addition to this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend was the introduction of LED courts, marking a new era of technology. The NBA replaced traditional basketball courts with courts from ASB GlassFloor, featuring giant LED screens with over 24 million pixels. Despite the novelty, the impact on operations and engineering was minimal, as all elements were managed by the NBA’s team via a media server.

In addition to LED courts, various camera highlights were observed, including the use of Canon EOS C300 cameras for shallow-depth-of-field acquisition and Supra Cam four-point wired cameras for aerial shots. While traditional broadcasts aired on TNT and TBS, alternative broadcasts on truTV and B/R Sports on Max showcased different perspectives and insights, further enriching the viewer experience.

Overall, the NBA All-Star Weekend showcased a convergence of cutting-edge technology and innovative broadcasting techniques, reinforcing TNT Sports’ commitment to delivering unparalleled coverage of the ultimate celebration of basketball.

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