Broadcast Sports, Inc. (BSI) was contracted by ESPN to provide wireless camera, microphone and communications services for the 2010 Breeder’s Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on November 5 and 6.
ESPN wanted to offer viewers an all-access experience with coverage ranging from behind the scenes paddock views, to betting windows, to the owner’s boxes, to the race action, to post-race interviews on horseback, and BSI had to deliver virtually seamless and glitch-free wireless HD video and audio from every location.
Efficient use of available spectrum to deliver robust coverage over large areas at the event, complicated by local news coverage, was a challenge. The first step to reducing potential interference was to develop and deploy RF systems that legally operate outside of standard broadcast frequencies. BSI utilizes a combination of off-the-shelf and custom-designed systems that operate in spectrum licensable for temporary use through the Aerospace and Flight Test Radio Coordinating Council (AFTRCC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Special Temporary Authority (STA) approval process. This process gives BSI access to the spectrum between 1435 -1525 MHz and 2360 – 2390 MHz with reasonable assuredness of interference-free operation.
The mobile video transmission portion of the service was provided using Link L1500 HD digital microwave transmitters on five handheld cameras. A distributed receive infrastructure was deployed to provide overlapping coverage areas throughout the facility. BSI designed and manufactured this system to allow for small footprint receive sites, connected via fiber optic cable, to deliver two discrete slices of spectrum back to a mobile unit in the television compound from each designated site.