Winter sports are keeping us busy, but it’s starting to feel a little like spring on our schedules.
Tuesday of this week, Jim Flowers had our K33 truck in Peoria, Arizona, at the Peoria Sports Complex for a press conference, as the San Diego Padres announced they have signed first baseman Eric Hosmer for an eight year, $144 million contract. This exciting announcement was a kickoff for what’s going to be a very busy month of spring training baseball in Arizona. Mr. Flowers was also on hand Friday at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona, where the Angels faced off against the Oakland A’s. Jim and K33 are going to be good friends throughout the month of March, as both truck and engineer will be transmitting various games for affiliates and baseball fans around the country.
We’ve also got some baseball action over in Florida this weekend, as Marty Smitherman’s at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida, starting Saturday for the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training camp activities. Earlier in the week, Marty was a few miles up the road at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida, when the Lakeland Magic took on the Greensboro Swarm in NBA G League action and lost 98-88.
We are feeling fortunate to have such an extensive presence in Florida — our Satcom division’s facility in Orlando has been quite a busy hub as we’ve deployed trucks and engineers throughout the state.
Blake Blomstrom landed in Orlando just as our Satcom team was finishing some repairs on our C23 truck, and he headed north to TPC of Myrtle Beach this week in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, for the Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship. This invitation-only event is for boys and girls ages 13-18 and features 90 players from all over the world, giving them a glimpse of what it would be like to be a PGA player on tour and challenging their skill as they compete with top golfers from around the globe.
Kevin Spangler took C24 the opposite direction to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, for the Honda Classic. This annual PGA tournament is comprised of 144 golfers competing for a total purse of $6.6 million this year. Rickie Fowler returns to defend his title and competes alongside such big names as Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood. Also playing this tournament is Tiger Woods, who is looking to continue his consecutive tournament streak.
Vegas-based Tracy Michaels, our engineer in charge (EIC) for all things Golf Channel, was in Orlando for some meetings with our friends at GC, and he also spent some time at the shop lending a hand on some trucks. Project manager Garrett Hunt flew down from LA to join Tracy at the Amway Center in Orlando for this weekend’s UFC on Fox 28. Jeremy Stephens battles Josh Emmett in the featherweight bout. There’s also a strawweight match-up between Jessica Andrade and Tecia Torres, a light heavyweight match between Ilir Latifi and Ovince St. Preux and a welterweight match-up between Mike Perry and Max Griffin.
Unfortunately, many of our News Group engineers have been spending a lot of time in Florida this week, as well. Thank you to Lorenzo Dottori, Bill O’Toole, Scott Garber, Charlie Neiswenter, Max Lewis and Michael Humphrey for working long, hard hours for CNN’s extensive coverage of the aftermath of the Parkland shooting.
With so many members of our News Group team in Florida, CNN called on PSSI Global Services to head to Charlotte at the news of Billy Graham’s passing. Benny Griffis hit the road from Atlanta at a moment’s notice and was joined by Charlotte-based engineer Andy Kehn for some live shots from the Billy Graham Library. After wrapping there, Benny headed up the road to Clemson, South Carolina, where the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets took on the Clemson Tigers Friday night in some college basketball action.
Back in Atlanta, Kyle Meyer and Jonathan Ayala are with our C27 mobile teleport at Atlanta Motor Speedway for NASCAR fun this week that includes the Rinnai 250 and Active Pest Control 200 for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta doubleheader on Saturday and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 where Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick both seem to have an excellent shot at the checkered flag.
All the way across the country and back, our engineers have their hands full with college hoops.
Steve Toth is heading to the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland, this weekend with C41 when the Michigan State Wolverines take on the Maryland Terrapins. Steve, one of our “at-home” transmission regulars, had to take a moment to remind himself how to do a single-path uplink for our friends at ESPN!
Nick Ray and Mike Howley are close to home with an at-home transmission at the Ryan Center in Rhode Island, where the Rhode Island Rams host the Dayton Flyers on Friday night. This is yet another seven-channel multiplexed transmission back to ESPN headquarters in Connecticut.
Wes Hill’s another regular with the ESPN at-home setup. He was down in San Diego Thursday night at the Jenny Craig Pavilion where San Diego State hosted the Gonzaga Bulldogs. He’s on his way to Fresno’s Save Mart Center for Saturday’s matchup between the Fresno State Bulldogs and the Wyoming Cowboys.
Todd Harvey’s getting into the at-home mix in his home state of Utah. He was at the Huntsman Center on Thursday when the Utes hosted the UCLA Bruins. Then it was on to the Marriott Center in Provo for BYU hosting Gonzaga on Saturday. Next up for Todd’s truck is some March Madness action up in Boise, Idaho. Things are heating up! Which is good news for Harvey — it’s been downright arctic in Utah!
Dave Brin’s heading back over the mountain from Sacramento to Reno for more college hoops, as Nevada hosts the Colorado State Rams.
Dennis Smith is plugging away in the Columbia truck. He’s heading down to Richmond this weekend for VCU vs. St. Bonaventure. Then it’s back up I-95 to Philly for some Temple hoops on Monday.
Dave Buckman’s in Annapolis yet again this weekend, when the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds face the Navy Midshipmen at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.
Still more hoops on Sunday when Rick Varney heads up to the Portland Expo Building in Maine for NBA G League action. The Windy City Bulls are in town to face the Maine Red Claws.
There’s a lot of fighting this weekend as well. In addition to the UFC action in Orlando, we’ve got WWE, HBO Boxing and some Golden Boy on ESPN.
Chris Hovden was at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, with K19 on Thursday for the Golden Boy Event. Joseph “JoJo” Diaz defended his NABO featherweight title against former world champion Victor “Vikingo” Terrazas on the main card, and there were also bouts with super lightweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Christian Gonzalez. Chris has done more than a few of these three-channel muxes for our friends at ESPN and for boxing fans around the world. Following this event, he is taking some well-deserved time off in Australia. Have a great trip, Chris!
CK30 is out west, and getting plenty of TLC in our shops in LA and Vegas. Zane Michaels and CK30 started it all off at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, on Monday for WWE Raw, and what a show it was. Most of the action took place inside the ring, which is a rare occurrence.
Tuesday continued the wrestling fun at the Talking Stick Resort Arena with WWE SmackDown, where Zane Michaels was joined by fellow senior engineer Jim Flowers, an Arizona local himself.
Then CK30 heads to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on Sunday, when Zane will join forces with project manager Logan Schinto for the big event. Some of the match-ups include Asuka vs. Nia Jax, Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy, and of course, men’s and women’s Elimination Chamber matches. The women’s match includes Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Mickie James vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville for a shot at going to WrestleMania 34. The men’s Elimination Chamber lineup includes John Cena vs. Braun Strowman vs. Elias vs. Roman Reigns vs. The Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins.
Last, but not least, we have another big fight at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, California. John Jennings and Larry Sheets are on the domestic and international trucks, respectively, while project managers Eric Hall and Michael Hollander join EIC Paul Blomstrom to ensure a smooth broadcast for HBO and boxing fans around the world. It’s the WBC Super Flyweight Championship, as Sor Rungvisai takes on Juan Francisco Estrada in the main event. Rounding out our lineup are Mark Huss and Oscar Zapata, who will be providing ringside audio commentary services to announcers from around the world.