Hold onto your hats; this is the biggest weekend of 2020 so far! Have a good look at what PSSI Live is up to around the world.
Why don’t we start on the other side of the world: Auckland, New Zealand, where Garrett Hunt and Jim Flowers are working alongside our friends and partners at Waicomm and Cordia to provide Concom and the UFC with world-class transmission services for UFC Fight Night this weekend. Our crew is all set up outside Spark Arena for the weigh-in and Saturday’s undercards leading up to the main event matchup between Paul Felder and Dan Hooker. Garrett has spent months building the worldwide transmission routing for the show, which will include (of course) a stop via Telstra’s worldwide fiber network at the PSSI International Teleport for QC and turnaround services. Every show is a big show for the UFC, but international originations require special attention to detail and strong vendor partnerships, two of Strategic Television’s many strengths. Tune in to the fight on ESPN+ on Saturday while Jim and Garrett work their magic on Sunday (New Zealand time).
Let’s stay international, as our WWE team begins the long journey to Saudi Arabia for next week’s Super ShowDown, live from the Mohammed Abdu Arena in Riyadh. Veteran WWE project manager, Logan Schinto, will have some support from Strategic Television’s Victor Verno, while senior engineers Zane Michaels and Mike Lemieux will collaborate with local vendors to ensure the show is built to WWE’s exacting standards. More next week, but safe travels in the meantime, guys!
Just because a large contingent of our WWE crew is heading overseas doesn’t mean that we won’t be at WWE’s big domestic shows this week! CK30 driver Joe Kelderhouse is taking a well-deserved vacation while veteran drivers Devon Porter and Jerry Gore take the wheel on a heckuva travel schedule. Nick Ray’s running the truck at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ for Friday Night SmackDown. From there, Devon and Jerry start hauling north for Monday Night RAW. How far north? How about Winnipeg! That’s right – almost 2,000 miles later our team will cross the border with the WWE convoy to be in place for RAW at the Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg. Nick Ray’s there for that one, too, before the whole train rolls to Boston! We get around!
Still more international work: Chris Golden is having a solid week of transmissions down at the Coco Beach Golf & Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. It’s the Puerto Rico open, live on Golf Channel through Sunday if the weather holds. Once the show wraps, our truck will get back on a boat for the slow float back to Florida while Chris heads home for a well-deserved couple of days off.
Mike Howley is spending his Friday at the Port of Miami, where he will be providing internet via satellite for a docked cruise ship. Mike’s receiving some of PSSI International Teleport’s massive bandwidth via Eutelsat 113 WA and handing it off to the ship so that its crew can get online before heading out to sea. One of many tools in our ever-expanding toolkit!
Mike leaves sunny Florida for Boston over the weekend, where he’ll be doing a more traditional satellite uplink at Boston University on Sunday. The Terriers host the American Eagles on CBS Sports Network, one of a few exciting college basketball games on our schedule this weekend.
Steve Hagerty’s at his second home – Syracuse’s Carrier Dome – for more hoops on Saturday. This time the Orange host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in some ACC action.
Speaking of second homes, the WVU Coliseum may put up a statue of Dave “Mitch” Mitchell given how many times he’s been there. This weekend the Lady Mountaineers will host the Kansas Jayhawks, and Mitch will make sure all the basketball fans can see the game.
Dennis Smith heads up to another familiar venue: UConn’s Gampel Pavilion, where the Huskies will host the University of South Florida on Sunday afternoon.
Blake Blomstrom is at West Point for an exciting Army/Navy doubleheader at Christl Arena. The ladies kick things off on CBS Sports Network, and the men’s game follows shortly thereafter. Long day and a lot of exciting hoops for Blake on Saturday!
That’s it for basketball this weekend, but we’re not even close to finished!
Kevin Spangler and Ron Ford are at the beautiful Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX this weekend for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Our friends at Globecast are providing the worldwide distribution of this exciting weekend of car racing, and they’ve invited us to provide C-band and Ku-band origination services from the track.
Back in Southern California, Wes Hill is all set up at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium for Sunday’s live broadcast of the 2020 NAACP Image Awards on BET. This is the 51st annual Image Awards, which honors outstanding representations and achievements of people of color in movies, television, music, and literature. It’s sure to be a great show!
Craig Henry’s heading to Charleston, SC to meet up with local engineer, Steve Toth, for the next big Democratic Debate. This one is on CBS, and we will have the CK25 mobile teleport there for multiple feeds outside the Gaillard Center. PSSI News Group will be there as well, of course, for our friends at CNN as the debate leads into the crucial SC primary. Lorenzo Dottori, Charlie Neiswenter, Max Lewis, and Scott Garber will all be in the state of South Carolina throughout the week as the election cycle heats up.
Rick Kolinek continues his long-standing streak of transmissions for AHL hockey with our friends at Program Productions. Friday night he’s back at UW-Milwaukee’s Panther Arena for the game between the Chicago Wolves and the Milwaukee Admirals.
Keeping with hockey, Tracy Michaels is at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for a very special event: “Relive the Miracle” will gather all but two players from the 1980 Olympic Hockey team for the 40th anniversary of their miraculous win at Lake Placid. Tracy will provide our friends at MLB Network a multiplexed transmission of the big event.
It is ridiculously busy in Las Vegas, and that’s just how we like it. After a thrilling (and terrifying) conclusion to the Daytona 500 last Monday, our NASCAR crew headed to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to start setting up for Sunday’s Pennzoil 400. Rick Ball and Justin Roszak showed up early to get the AT&T Global Video Services fiber up and running at the track. Steve Chaisson showed up a couple of days later with a satellite truck for multiple inbound and outbound transmission services, with a critical stop at the PSSI International Teleport on the way to NASCAR headquarters in Charlotte. Not much chance of a rain delay this weekend, but anything can happen on the track!
It’s also time for the Nevada Democratic Caucuses, which means a lot of political events all across town. PSSI News Group’s David Conwell, Todd Anderson, Bob Tweed, and Michael Humphrey are at various places for CNN, as well as PSSI Global Services’s John Jennings, who will be working an Amy Klobuchar event. Chris Hovden’s in town for pool feeds of a Joe Biden event, and we’re ready for anything else that might happen over the weekend!
You might have heard something about a pay-per-view fight in Vegas this weekend, too. That’s right, it’s Wilder vs. Fury II, one of the most anticipated bouts in recent memory. The fight is co-promoted by Top Rank Boxing and Premier Boxing Champions, which means it’s also a collaboration between ESPN+ and Fox Sports. We are fortunate enough to work with all four entities on a regular basis, so PSSI/Strategic Television is well-represented at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as we provide extensive transmission and event management services for this historic fight. Rick Ball and Brian Blomstrom are in the CK35 mobile teleport to provide uplink services for all of ESPN’s promotional and shoulder programming, including the weigh-in, fighter arrivals, and studio shows.
Meanwhile, Strategic Television project manager, David Gallardo, is leading the charge on our extensive PPV services. David’s working closely with EIC Paul Blomstrom to ensure that all of the PPV head-ends receive redundant, encrypted pathways of the big fight for distribution to PPV buyers around the world. Strategic Television project manager, Michael Hollander, is there as well to manage the worldwide distribution of the fight, calling licensees from all regions of the world to ensure they’re getting all the action from Las Vegas. We have a strong crew of senior engineers there working out of multiple trucks: Matt Huennekens, Larry Sheets, and Joe Cox are each responsible for a transmission pathway on domestic, international, and unilateral productions. Mark Huss is ringside to provide international broadcasters with audio commentary equipment and support. David Meyer will head to the compound on Saturday morning to provide a standalone catastrophic backup pathway in case of a power failure at the venue. The PSSI International Teleport is a key link in the chain for the fight’s worldwide distribution.
David and our team have been working for months in close collaboration with all the principals to prepare for this enormous show with extremely high stakes. While there will be millions of eyeballs on Saturday night’s fight, boxing fans won’t see the massive effort behind the show’s production and transmission. And that’s the way it should be!
Check us out next week as we continue to provide live event management, transmission, production, teleport, studio, and data services to customers around the world!