Yes, March is here, and all the Madness therein! It’s conference tournament time in NCAA basketball, the last big step before the tourney starts up in just a week or so. We’ve got hoops on the brain and on our schedules!
Joe Cox is handling all of CBS’s coverage of the Mountain West Championship from UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas this week. Wyoming takes on Nevada on Thursday night, with more games on Friday before Saturday’s championship game. It’s anybody’s guess who is going to punch a ticket to the Big Dance!
CBS also has us working at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center in Los Angeles. This is going to be a great game, as the UCLA Bruins would relish a victory over the Trojans in this in-city rivalry matchup. John Jennings will be there for a test on Friday before the big game on Saturday afternoon. Tune in!
Dave “Mitch” Mitchell is back in Akron for another rivalry game. Kent State is in town to take on the Zips Friday night at the James A. Rhodes Arena, live on CBS Sports Network. Mitch will have a little break from hoops before the NCAA tourney starts in just about a week!
Mike Lemieux, fresh as a daisy after a great showing in Saudi Arabia for WWE, is back home and working hoops in Rhode Island and Connecticut this week. He was there at the Ryan Center in Kingston to see URI get whipped by the #3 Dayton Flyers on Wednesday night. Then Lemieux made the short drive to Storrs, CT, where UConn will host the #21 Houston Cougars on Thursday night at the hallowed Gampel Pavilion.
Mike has to wait until Friday to know where he’ll be for one of two Patriot League semi-final games. Steve Hagerty’s in the same boat, standing by down to the wire before we know which Patriot League teams will face off for another chance at the big tournament. Each game will air on Sunday on CBS Sports Network. No matter where they end up, PSSI Live will be there. That’s one big advantage of having the largest fleet of transmission vehicles in the world – we have all but total coverage!
Dennis Smith will be heading down to the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington DC for the American Athletic Conference semifinals and finals. Before that, Dennis is back at Barclays Center in Brooklyn for more PBC boxing. Adam Kownacki will take on Robert Helenius in the main event while Dennis handles the outbound fiber transmission to the PSSI International Teleport. Our team there will turn that signal around to international licensees while sending Strategic Television project manager, Michael Hollander, a stream of the fight so that he can monitor the feed and make sure all the takers around the world are receiving a good signal.
It’s a big weekend for fighting, with two huge pay-per-views on the docket over the weekend. Let’s start at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where our UFC team is joining forces with Concom for another UFC PPV on Saturday night. This time it’s UFC 248, with Israel Adesanya taking on Yoel Romero in one of two main events. Weili Zhang takes on Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the other main event, a women’s strawweight matchup. As usual, we have the A-team on site for this huge, worldwide event. Tracy Michaels is the tech manager for the entire show, a relatively new service offering in our toolkit. Tracy will make sure everything from the Octagon to the production truck to the uplinks is working perfectly. No small feat. Speaking of uplinks, brothers Paul and Brian Blomstrom are handling C-band and Ku-band transmissions for domestic and international origination feeds, with EIC Jim Flowers making sure all pathways are clean. Matt Huennekens rolls in for show day with still another truck to provide a disaster cam uplink in the unlikely event of a power failure at the venue. Strategic Television project manager, Garrett Hunt, is there to make sure UFC fans around the world get all the action, from Friday’s weigh-in to the post-event press conference. And of course the PSSI International Teleport will play a key role in the worldwide distribution of UFC 248. Great crew for a great show!
You may remember from last week’s roundup that our WWE team was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the Super ShowDown, another hugely successful PPV. Well, the guys got a day or two to travel home and do some laundry before yet another PPV: the Elimination Chamber at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia this Sunday night. Zane Michaels and STV project manager, Logan Schinto, are together again in the CK30 mobile teleport to provide extensive transmission services to the exacting standards of the WWE production team. Before that, Nick Ray’s in Buffalo at the KeyBank Center for Friday Night SmackDown and, AFTER THAT, Zane’s at the Capitol One Arena in DC for Monday Night RAW. Driver Joe Kelderhouse is responsible for making sure that CK30 gets where it needs to get in plenty of time for our team to work their magic. Keep it going, fellas!
Earlier in the week, Chris Golden was back at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL for yet another WWE NXT show on Wednesday night. It was just the start of what’s going to be a heckuva run for Chris. On Friday he’s at the University of Miami’s Alex Rodriguez Park for some NCAA baseball, as the Pitt Panthers are in town to take on the ‘Canes. Chris is providing our pals at ESPN an at-home transmission of the game to be produced back in Connecticut.
From there Chris makes his way up the coast to TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. It’s the beginning of the Players Championship, the first Major of the golf season. Our friends at Golf Channel will have Chris working his tail off all week long, with play finishing next Sunday if the weather holds. Nice run, Chris!
Staying in Florida, Mike Howley’s making his way to Bradenton for some spring training baseball on Saturday. The Yankees take on the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Mike’s feed is for FSN. Great weather, great baseball, and hopefully a great game!
Craig Henry’s also working in the Sunshine State. He’s at the Daytona International Speedway working the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series on Saturday, the first event in a series of Supercross meets across the country.
More motorsports on the schedule this weekend: Ron “Roadrunner” Ford is back at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX for the GT World Challenge this weekend. It’s the second time in two weeks Ron’s been at the track. He’ll be heading to Sebring in a couple of weeks for more racing, as well, sandwiched in between some basketball games.
Of course we’re at the biggest race of the weekend, as well, as our friends at NASCAR are already rocking and rolling at the Phoenix Raceway in advance of this Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Bluegreen Vacations 500 race. Rick Varney’s in town along with Rick Ball to handle the massive data and video fiber transmissions via AT&T’s Global Video Services network. The guys had the system up and running by Tuesday for all of NASCAR’s production and transmission needs. Steve Chaisson’s there for the weekend on the CK35 mobile teleport to provide satellite services for all the racing throughout the weekend. And the PSSI International Teleport, as always, is the hub between the track and NASCAR headquarters in Charlotte. It takes a small army of skilled transmission experts to pull off these big racing events week in and week out. Nice work, team!
Back in California, Larry Sheets is spending an idyllic few days in Newport Beach, where Golf Channel is there covering the Hoag Classic. It’s a little chilly, but otherwise Larry’s in for a beautiful weekend of golf.
We’ll finish the roundup with the Final Rose, as we are all incredibly excited for the two-day finale of ABC’s The Bachelor. Chris Hovden and John Jennings are the lucky engineers assigned to these live episodes on the Warner Bros lot in Burbank. Who will Peter choose: Hannah Ann or Madison? It’s anybody’s guess, but everyone will get their answer on Tuesday when they tune in to ABC to see Chris’s and John’s hard work.
And so ends another busy week at PSSI Live! Tune in next week for more live transmission, production, data, and teleport services around the world.