A busy week for PSSI!
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show was in Las Vegas this past week, and PSSI Global Services had a great time meeting with customers, fellow vendors and partners
to tout our ever-expanding service offerings. We were glad to add Bill Sciolla, vice president and general manager of the PSSI International Teleport (PIT), to our booth this year, as he was able to explain to scores of folks the extensive upgrades happening at PIT, including the installation of dual 10 GB connectivity with AT&T’s expansive fiber network.
Our partnership with AT&T was on full display at AT&T’s booth, where we had our LA Sprinter deployed to demonstrate our newest offering, SABER, a blended fiber and satellite transmission solution. A newly installed Media Links shelf in the Sprinter enables this vehicle to become a mobile fiber pop with a satellite backup. This redundant, dual platform approach — utilizing SAtellite and fiBER in one truck — is the future of broadcast transmission, and we are excited to continue developing our partnership with AT&T across our fleet. There’s so much more to come for PSSI — stay tuned!
Not everyone in Vegas was at the NAB show. Just a few miles up the road at our shop, our Vegas fabrication team is nearing completion on remarkable upgrades to the CK25 mobile teleport. In just a couple of weeks that truck will be back on the road, and our customers will like what they see when they step inside this beauty. Our guys in Los Angeles are also putting the finishing touches on some carpentry and welding in our C21 truck, which will resume its heavy workload in just a couple of weeks, as well. And let’s not forget about our Satcom team in Orlando. They are busy preparing a few of our newly acquired Ku-band trucks from CNN for deployment in the Global Services fleet. These trucks came to us fully loaded with cutting-edge transmission technologies, and our News Group engineers have taken excellent care of them over the years. With just a few adjustments and upgrades to suit our Global Services workload, these new trucks will add even more transmission and production capabilities as well as geographical coverage to our nationwide fleet, which is already the largest in the country.
Even with all this going on, we have quite a few uplinks on our schedule this week.
Right there in Vegas, Joe Cox is busy at T-Mobile Arena this week for the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Playoffs. What a season this has been for the Golden Knights! The Golden Knights pulled off a 1-0 victory over The Kings in Game 1 of the playoffs. Game 2 will be Friday night at T-Mobile Arena. Will they make it all the way to the Stanley Cup in their very first season?
Also in Vegas this weekend we have the Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Awards show veteran Brian Blomstrom will be there for us in the C15, handling all of CBS’ transmission needs. Reba McEntire is hosting the awards this year, with performances from popular artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton and Keith Urban. A winner will be announced in 24 different categories.
Out west, Chris Hovden and the K19 truck headed to the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, on Thursday for another Golden Boy on ESPN. It was Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas overcoming “Lightning” Rod Salka for the Junior Lightweight title, and Chris was there to distribute every second of the whole show, from undercards to main event, via a multiplexed transmission to ESPN, ESPN Deportes and international licensees. Project Manager Michael Hollander monitored the international feed and checked in with dozens of takers from around the world to ensure they were receiving a quality signal. Between Chris and our team at PIT, who ingested and uplinked the signal to Latin American boxing fans, our transmissions were flawless. Nice work, guys!
Big fight down the road in Phoenix this weekend. John Jennings with the Atlas truck and Nathan Holsey in the C47 truck traveled down Thursday from Los Angeles to meet up with EIC Jim Flowers and project manager, Garrett Hunt, at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. They’re setting up and testing for Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 29, which features the Main Event between Dustin “Diamond” Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC) and Justin Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC). We’ll also be watching Israel Adesanya face Marvin Vettori, Carlos Condit going toe-to-toe with Alex Oliveira (as Matt Brown was scratched) and Cortney Casey facing Michelle Waterson to round out the list. There will also be four preliminaries on Saturday — Tim Boetsch vs. Antonio Carlos Junior, Muslin Salikhov vs. Ricky Rainey, John Moraga vs. Wilson Reis and Krzysztof Jotko vs. Brad Tavares. It will be one BIG night of UFC action that MMA fans around the world will be watching thanks to our team at the origination.
Plenty of golf keeping us busy, as usual.
Chris Golden was at Topgolf in Orlando, Florida, with the C42 truck earlier this week with contestants for the new Golf Channel head-to-head competition called “Shotmakers,” which is on Monday and Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. This innovative and exciting show takes nine mixed teams of two, and puts them in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment where they must use their precision-shot skills and control to eliminate the other teams to win cash and prizes. Each shot will be visualized by Topgolf’s Toptracer technology, which immediately displays the ball’s flight, speed, distance and curve on screen. The hosts, Amanda Blumenherst, three-time NCAA Player of the Year, and Shane Bacon are joined by Golf Channel reporter Chantel McCabe and social media correspondent Alexandra O’Laughlin to bring you all the action.
Coming straight from the Masters, Craig Henry and C31 were in Pinehurst, North Carolina, at the Pinehurst No. 2 golf club for Par 3 show on Tuesday, where it was announced by the LPGA that there will be a brand-new Q-Series, held for the first time at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina this fall. Previously a 90-hole event, this will replace the final stage of qualifying school and will instead be a 144-hole marathon split over two weeks and two courses. There will be no cut either week — instead, scores from the eight rounds will be added cumulatively with the players splitting a total purse of $150,000 and the top 45 finishes will earn LPGA status for the 2019 season. You’d better believe PSSI will be there for this event, too!
From there, driver Dale Fountain hustled the C31 truck to Kevin Spangler at TPC Sugarloaf, in Duluth, Georgia, for the Mitsubishi Electric Classic, which finishes up this weekend. This tournament, one of Gwinnett County’s flagship events, brings golf pros and legends such as John Daly and Miguel Angel Jimenez together for three days of fun and competition for an overall purse of $1.8 million.
A few thousand miles away, engineers Blake Blomstrom and Jose Sanchez have been delivering rock-solid transmissions from the Ko Olina Golf Club in Kapolei, Hawaii, with one of our 5.5 m flyaway antennas. It’s the LPGA Lotte Championship, and our guys are enjoying the scenery from Hawaii while working long hours for Golf Channel.
Back on the mainland, we have lacrosse, soccer, hoops, hockey, bowling and even a little bull riding!
David Meyer and the K20 truck will be on-site at the Tacoma Dome Saturday and Sunday for the PBR Invitational. The pro bull-riding event will feature the top 35 riders in the world, each one dueling one of the toughest animal athletes on the planet for a thrilling few seconds at a time.
Before getting to Tacoma, David will be at the Langley Events Center in Vancouver, British Columbia, with the K20 on Friday when the Vancouver Stealth take on Saskatchewan Rush in National Lacrosse League action. After Tacoma, David’s heading to Denver to meet up with engineer Mike Sheehan and News Group engineer Al Meshberg, as Al plans to show these strong, young engineers the ins and outs of his brand-new News Group truck. Exciting stuff!
More lacrosse this Saturday out east.
Dennis Smith and the Columbia truck will be at Stabler Athletic and Convention Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA when the Cornell Big Red take on the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in Men’s Lacrosse action.
Mati Kerpen and the Junior truck will be at Michie Stadium in West Point, New York, when the Navy Midshipmen take on the Army Black Knights in more lacrosse excitement.
Steve Hagerty’s smack dab in the middle of the country at the Tropicana Lanes Bowling Alley in Richmond Heights, Missouri, to cover the NCAA 2018 National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championship. Here, just outside of St. Louis, the top eight teams in the country will compete for the National Title on Saturday.
Not too far up the road, Rick Kolinek will bring K22 to the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Illinois, on Friday when the Chicago Wolves take on the Rockford Icehogs in AHL action.
Dave Buckman and the K46 truck will be at Navy Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland on Saturday when Columbus Crew SC take on DC United in Major League Soccer. This is yet another MLS game we’re transmitting on behalf of AT&T. Dave’s signal will be downlinked at the PIT teleport for immediate distribution across the AT&T fiber network.
We’re coming up on some NBA playoffs, and we have several trucks across the country gearing up for the action. This weekend we’ll be in Boston and Philly, and later next week we’re in San Antonio and Minnesota. With so many trucks and quality engineers spread across the country, we can be very nimble with the last-minute schedules of playoff season. We can be pretty much anywhere for our customers!
Rick Varney had some basketball action of his own this week. Mr. Varney was at Nike NYC Headquarters all week with the C43 truck for the WNBA’s 2018 Draft. The University of South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson was the No. 1 overall pick, and she’ll be playing for the Las Vegas Aces very soon.
Last, but never least, we are racing this weekend.
Wes Hill and Rick Ball will bring the CK35 truck to the Long Beach Street Circuit, in Long Beach, California, this weekend for another thrilling race weekend. The events will include the NASCAR IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and GT Le Mans classes, Motegi Super Drift Challenge, the Pirelli World Challenge, the Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks Grand Prix of Long Beach, and the Historic Trans Am Challenge. Rick and Wes will be transmitting 11 multiplexed paths out of both antennas on the CK35 mobile teleport back to NASCAR headquarters in Charlotte.
Jonathan Ayala and Justin Roszak are on-site for NASCAR in Bristol, Tennessee, with the C27 truck for the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500. Drivers are looking to secure their spot in the playoffs, which starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in September. Jonathan, Justin, and the rest of our NASCAR team are the trailblazers utilizing our SABER solution out of the C27 mobile teleport. They’re providing multiple transmission paths via satellite and fiber from tracks around the country in collaboration with our friends at AT&T.
And that’s a wrap!