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Fox Sports' Jam-Packed Super Saturday Headlined by Unique Belmont Stakes Production at Saratoga

10/06/2024

Fox Sports' Jam-Packed Super Saturday Headlined by Unique Belmont Stakes Production at Saratoga Foxs Super Saturday also included MLB London, Dodgers-Yankees Coverage By Jason Dachman, Editorial Director, U.S.

Monday, June 10, 2024 - 3:07 pm

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While last weekend marked FOX Sports' second consecutive year producing the Belmont Stakes, this year's operation was markedly different thanks to a new locale. For the first time in history, the third leg of the Triple Crown was held at Saratoga Race Course while Belmont Park undergoes renovations. FOX's Belmont production, which featured a dramatic win by 17-1 long shot Dornoch, was part of a transcontinental weekend of major productions that included the MLB London series and blockbuster Dodgers-Yankees series in The Bronx.

The third leg of the Triple Crown was held at Saratoga Race Course while Belmont Park undergoes renovations.

We started production up at Saratoga last summer with Saturdays at Saratoga so we've had experience on the track and our partners at NYRA have really worked hard to be ready for the Belmont Stakes this year, says Brad Cheney, VP, Field Operations, FOX Sports. We've got a very similar setup from our first race last year but with the NYRA team having to make a quick turn from racing at Aqueduct [Racetrack in Queens, NY] up to Saratoga and back next week there were many meetings on how to make all of this happen as smoothly as it has.

FOX's packed day of horseracing on Saturday included more than five hours of America's Day at the Races coverage on FS1 prior to the main broadcast on FOX, which began at 4 p.m. ET from Saratoga. Concurrently on FS1, America's Day at the Belmont provided an alternate telecast geared to the experienced horseplayer with in-depth handicapping for the final Triple Crown race. Following the conclusion of The Belmont Stakes, coverage continued on FS1 and FS2.

Fox deployed four sets and four production control rooms on-site along with a a crew of more than 350 to produce over 40 hours of programming across FS2, FS1 and FOX starting on Thursday and finishing with the last race on Sunday. The 1080p HDR production leveraged multiple Steadicams, CableCams, a JITAcam, robos from Fletcher Sports, a drone from Beverly Hills Aerials, and a helicopter covering the majesty of Saratoga along with racing. FOX also deployed a full arsenal of visual storytelling tools from SMT along with large on-site ENG and edit teams to augment it Belmont coverage.

FOX's main Belmont Stakes broadcast utilized Game Creek Video's PrimeOne A, B, C, D mobile units, the FS1/FS2/Simulcast operation ran out of NYRA's A, B, C, and E units. Filmwerks (a Sunbelt Rentals Company) provided all UPS power for the compound, while CP Communications' HD21 mobile units was on hand to manage all RF needs.

The Audio team lead by Joe Carpenter has been working hard to develop better audio capture during the race working with NYRA and the Jockeys to make it seamless and safe, says Cheyney. Our partnership with CP has given flexibility to the audio team and allowed to provide flexible coverage across the three tracks at Saratoga being used this week - two turf and one dirt.

In terms of transmission, FOX Sports had connectivity across Lumen, Peak Uplink, Rogers Communications, and LTN to bring the racing action to people across the globe with distribution hubs in Tempe, AZ and London. FOX also had direct connections with the MLB team at Yankee Stadium to integrate their live shows together throughout the day.

We've been integrating more and more with our partners at NYRA, who produce an amazing amount of Horse Racing on our networks each year, says Cheney. With that, we get time to develop and test concepts that we can launch during the Belmont Stakes and have NYRA continue throughout their productions.

Key members of the FOX Operations team for the Belmont Stakes included Sarita Meinking, Dave Jones, Rob Mikulicka, Doug Fuchs, David Zulauf, Brian Obert, Michael Vaughan, Dan James, Stephen Rebout, Tara Schumal, Casey McKee and Matt Tapper. Meanwhile, the NYRA Operations team was driven by Eric Donovan, Dan Glovach, Dennis Cooper, John Getzler, Malcolm Braxton, Veronica Venturi, Frank Langton, and David York.
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/06/10/belmont-stakes-fox-sports-close...
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