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Amazon Prime Video Chooses Onsite Production Path for Its 27 NWSL Matches

12/04/2024

Amazon Prime Video Chooses Onsite Production Path for Its 27 NWSL Matches The streamer made its league debut with the 2024 NWSL Challenge Cup on March 15 By Kristian Hern ndez, Senior Editor

Friday, April 12, 2024 - 7:00 am

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The 2024 NWSL season rolls into Matchday 4 this weekend, and Amazon Prime Video will kick off the seven-match slate with coverage of Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit tonight at 8 p.m. ET. With 27 total regular-season games on its schedule, the streamer has decided to produce the weekly 1080p broadcasts onsite at each venue.

Our main objective is finding the best way to serve the fan, says Betsy Riley, senior coordinating producer, live events, Prime Video. We believe that [having an] onsite presence provides us with additional storytelling opportunities, helps build new stars in the league, and draws the viewer closer to the pitch. There's nothing that can replace hearing the roar of the crowd and giving our announcers the chance to walk on the pitch pregame to see the players in person. Those are the moments when you feel like you're covering the sport in a real and holistic way.

Pitchside Productions: GCV Anywhere Connects Remote Graphics to Onsite Trucks After three games to begin the 2024 season, the production and operations crews are hitting their groove for their remaining 23 regular-season games. To pull off this weekly effort, the streamer has tapped the services of Game Creek Video for its onsite infrastructure. According to a plan spearheaded by Amazon Director, Production and Technical Operations, Ken Miller, Game Creek Video trucks are onsite in the broadcast compound, and the company's GCV Anywhere IP platform connects the remote graphics from Prime Video headquarters in Los Angeles to the venue.

Mike Watts (left) and Lori Lindsey in the booth at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ

All games will be produced and delivered in 1080p, which was seen on Prime Video's second season of Thursday Night Football. This wrinkle in the plan was implemented by Amazon Senior Manager, Technical Operations and Engineering, John Ward; Lead Tech Manager Phil Peggs; and Technical Operations Managers Bjorn Estlund and Stephen Leotta. Despite the league's advances over the past couple of seasons, a handful of venues - including CPKC Stadium, the brand-new home of the Kansas City Current - are integrating a workflow that the league is not accustomed to.

When we arrive on Thursday, says Riley, we're sometimes seeing these venues from an onsite-truck perspective for the first time. And some of these venues are supporting a 1080p broadcast for the first time, which means that there are additional fiber needs when we get onsite.

The shows will deploy 13-15 cameras per game, including a minimum of two with slow-motion. Broadcasts will be enhanced by a sophisticated audio package that captures nat sound from pitch level. In addition, Los Angeles-based DLP Media Group is assisting Amazon Lead Feature Producer Ross Tiernan and his crew with postproduction material seen during each broadcast.

A Flying Start: Inaugural Match Is Perfect Mix of Ingredients' Broadcasters or streamers rarely get to produce an inaugural match for which hardware is on the line, but Prime Video was in the driver's seat for the first-ever, one-day NWSL Challenge Cup on Friday, March 15. After the league adopted a one-off game rather than a multi-day competition, the 2024 edition, featuring defending NWSL Champion Gotham FC vs. NWSL Supporters Shield winner San Diego Wave and a ton of storylines, got the streamer off to a flying start.

On paper, you had amazing star power with notable accolades, says Riley, but the actual game proved that these players also had tremendous skill on the pitch. Fans were able to see the new generation of [U.S. Women's National Team] players emerge, but they were also able to see the world's best crop of international players. It was the perfect mix of ingredients, and a header by Alex Morgan to seal the game was an incredible way for us to launch.

Morgan's game-winning goal off the bench was a good sign of things to come on Prime Video. Since the debut match, fans flocking to the streaming platform have become familiar with late-game dramatics. In both of the other two broadcasts, a goal has been scored near or in stoppage time: one by women's soccer and Brazilian soccer legend Marta in the 88th minute to lead the Orlando Pride to a 1-1 draw against Angel City FC; the other, an insane pinball-like goal by San Diego Wave's Emily van Egmond in the 98th minute for the match's lone tally:

Emily van Egmond's cool as ice finish hands the Wave all three points! pic.twitter.com/hmvOLJtrj3

- National Women's Soccer League (@NWSL) March 30, 2024

Prime Video has chosen to produce its allotment of games in-house, but the NWSL's Broadcast Operations group has supplied support in the stream's debut with the league. Led by NWSL SVP, Broadcast, Brian Gordon and Senior Director, Broadcast and Production, Meg Buchan, the team has developed a fruitful and beneficial working relationship with Riley and her crew.

[The relationship] is very friendly with the league's other broadcast partners as well, notes Riley. We all know that working together helps lift this sport, so we cheer for [other networks'] broadcasts every week.

The Other' Football: TNF Elements Influence Soccer Broadcasts The 1080p effect and the decision to work onsite are major rollovers from Prime Video's premiere NFL package, but NWSL fans may notice other similarities to the way Thursday Night Football is produced. As with TNF, the NWSL-broadcast crew - which includes Director Eric Falkner, Lead Production Manager Tenley Kokich, and Producers Scott Karpen and Bettina
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/04/12/amazon-prime-video-chooses-onsi...
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