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EA Rolls Out New Broadcast Features for New Competition Format at Madden Bowl 21: Draft Edition

05/05/2021

EA Rolls Out New Broadcast Features for New Competition Format at Madden Bowl 21: Draft Edition In-game player comms, virtual interview portal are among added elements By Jason Dachman, Chief Editor

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 2:35 pm

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EA wrapped up its marquee Madden tournament - Madden Bowl 21: Draft Edition - yesterday with Team Henry taking the crown and EA's new format for the event proving to be a winner as well. The decathlon-style event, which featured 24 Madden competitors teaming in a variety of game modes, presented new challenges for the EA broadcast team and resulted in several new features in the broadcast.

The Madden Bowl: Draft Edition puts a brand-new twist on the traditional head-to-head Madden format, says Royce Dickerson, executive producer, Madden Competitive Gaming Content and Programming, EA. For the first time in the history of the Madden Bowl, the top Madden pros have teamed up and compete in a variety of Madden game modes and 3-vs.-3 and 1-vs.-1 matchups. Because of this more dynamic gameplay, we had to completely rethink our approach to the broadcast in order to create an engaging, fluid viewer experience.

Building on learnings from the virtual Pro Bowl and other Madden events, the broadcast team launched mic'd up all-access in-game player comms, a virtual interview portal, new data-driven production solutions, and enhanced remote content-capture/transmission kits for players.

Madden Productions Remain 100% Remote, Rely on Ross Production Services All 43 EA broadcast-crew members (plus on-air talent and competitors) continued to operate remotely from their homes - as they have done since the pandemic began. Ross Production Services has been the primary production partner for the entire Madden NFL 21 Championship Series season, including the Madden Bowl: Draft Edition.

All competitors, including pro Madden player Pavan Lakhat (pictured), were provided custom capture/transmission kits for the fully remote production of Madden Bowl 21: Draft Edition.

With Ross, says Dickerson, we not only get to use first-class gear but also gain access to years of broadcast-innovation experience and a team of dedicated professionals who are just as passionate about our product as we are. We're continuously adapting and evolving our workflow to ensure the best possible viewing experience for our Madden community. Over the past year, we've collectively developed and tested several new solutions that we believe will become an industry standard for esports.

Madden Bowl: Draft Edition 101 - Explaining the New Format to Viewers Since the Madden Bowl: Draft Edition featured a new format, the production team's primary focus was on educating the viewer and explaining how the format works. EA consistently ran explainer elements, lower-third graphics, and full-screen graphics throughout its broadcasts and ensured that its announcers reminded viewers of rules and stipulations.

Royce Dickerson's at-home setup for the Madden Bowl 21: Draft Edition

This enabled the director, producer, graphics team, and tape room to be on the same page at all times though working from different locations. Since the Madden NFL game modes change from match to match, the broadcast team communicated with the tournament-operations team through Discord to find out what game format would be next in the broadcast.

Because of this, we can't just rely on our normal run of show, Dickerson explains. Producer Wilfredo Perez and Supervising Producer Chad Bates have done a great job coming up with creative ways to execute this multifaceted broadcast and help our viewers to be more informed.

Enhanced Custom Player Kits and Partnering With Zixi EA also continues to enhance the custom player kits deployed to competitors' homes and has also partnered with Zixi to develop a suite of tools for content acquisition and delivery.

We delivered a list of requests, and our partners at Zixi sprang into action and rose to the challenge, says Dickerson. With a custom-built suite of applications, we have significantly increased our flexibility and quality while simultaneously decreasing transmission time.

Easy-to-configure kits allowed players to stay focused on the game, while the EA broadcast configured audio, comms, camera settings, lighting, and transmission.

The easy-to-configure kits allowed players to stay focused on the game, while the EA broadcast team configured player audio communications, camera settings, ambient lighting, and signal transmission. The kits included a Sony A7 III camera, which has a 16mm-35mm lens, and an ASUS laptop powered by an Intel i7 2.6-GHz processor and NVIDIA RTX 2070 graphics card. The kits also have full audio (IFB, lavalier microphone, converters, etc.) and lighting kits.

Ross gives us the tools to monitor all remote resources in real time, access a software-defined video router to remotely switch any feed (including producer returns displayed on any remote contributor's monitor), control all five of its four-channel graphics machines, and cut a show on the Ross Acuity production switcher - all from the comfort of our own homes, says Dickerson.

Madden Players Get Mic'd Up' In-Game With the new tournament format, EA consistently ran explainer elements, lower-third graphics, and full-screen graphics throughout its broadcasts.

Since the Madden Bowl: Draft Edition was a team-based competition, EA wanted viewers to be able to hear teammates communicate with one another while competing. For the first time in Madden Championship Series history, a new audio system similar to mic'd-up features in traditional sports broadcasts allowed viewers to listen in as players strategized with one another and coached their teammates.

With the new format, this meant that as many as 10
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2021/05/05/ea-rolls-out-new-broadcast-feat...
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