PSSI Global Services has a couple of enormous events this weekend that are the culmination of months of planning and preparation.
The 13th annual Amgen Tour of California begins Sunday in Long Beach, California, and will continue throughout next week to the finish line in front of the state capitol in Sacramento next Saturday, live on NBC. We’ve been handling transmission for the race for years, and each year we add more and more services for our customers and collaborators.
Our guys are already setting up down in Long Beach after spending a couple of days in the shop preparing our K34, LA Sprinter uplink, skIP van and K19. Our shop also hosted the intrepid moto crew, who built and wired up the motorcycles for their extensive RF coverage of the cyclists as they work their way across the great state of California. Tracy Michaels will be the tech manager for the entire production this year, and he has been working for months to orchestrate all aspects of production and transmission, from TV compound layouts to cable runs to airplane coordination to race timing and stats. In addition to arranging for the domestic and international transmission, senior project manager Eric Hall is wearing several hats in K34, coordinating the international broadcast in relation to NBC’s domestic show. John Bright will be engineer in charge (EIC) for K34, with Wes Hill handling the uplink duties. Mike Sheehan’s in the Sprinter providing data and phones for the compound via satellite, and Ray Loyko, Mark Huss, Brian Blomstrom and Dave Brin will provide remote uplink and downlink services at various points throughout the race. Everybody pitches in as they caravan to a new city every night to set up the next day’s TV compound.
You can watch this year’s tour daily on NBCSN as well as the Microsoft Tour Tracker, which also provides extensive data on all the cyclists’ performances throughout the 645 mile race.
Speaking of remarkable feats, we are also in the middle of setup for yet another UFC pay-per-view (PPV) with an international origination. It is UFC 224, live from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday night. We are down in Brazil in full force with our friends from Casablanca Online. Project managers Keith Valeri and Garrett Hunt are alongside senior engineers Mike Lemieux and Jim Flowers to build the transmission from scratch, so that UFC fans in Brazil and around the world can enjoy the bantamweight title bout between Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes and Raquel “Rocky” Pennington. Also on the main fight card is a middleweight bout between Ronaldo Souza and Kelvin Gastelum, bantamweight bout between John Lineker and Brian Kelleher, women’s strawweight bout between Mackenzie Dern and Amanda Cooper and middleweight bout between Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida. It’s going to be a huge night in Rio, and our “A” team will ensure a flawless broadcast.
WWE veterans Logan Schinto and Zane Michaels are back on the road, this time all the way across the pond. This Monday night it’s WWE Raw live from the 02 in London. Zane and Logan are working side by side with our friends and partners from Links Broadcast and Arqiva to provide extensive transmission services with distribution around the world and to WWE’s many broadcast platforms. The bout will feature Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins versus Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.
Back in the states it’s a big weekend for boxing.
Dennis Smith and the Columbia truck will be at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Friday for Showtime Boxing when Devin “The Dream” Haney faces Mason “Rock Hard Mighty” Menard. The fight card in Philly for Friday night also includes Tyrieshia “Lady Tiga” Douglas, Brandon “The Gift” Pizarro, Glenn Dezurn Jr., Alvin Varmall Jr., Hector Marengo and many more.
Mati Kerpen and the Junior truck will be at Madison Square Garden on Saturday for Top Rank boxing when Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares defends his WBA and Ringside Magazine lightweight titles against Vasyl “High-Tech” Lomachenko. The fight card in NYC also includes Ibon Larrinaga, Vitor Freitas, Jamel Herring, female lightweights Mikaela Mayer and Baby Nansen, and more. Senior project manager David Gallardo will be with Mati to handle the fight’s international distribution.
Dave Mitchell and the Arizona truck head to Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, where he’ll meet up with brothers Blake and Paul Blomstrom and Steve Hagerty for HBO World Championship Boxing. Project managers Victor Verno and Michael Hollander are also on hand to manage the domestic and international broadcasts, respectively. Sadam Ali defends his WBO junior middleweight title against Jaime Munguia. The co-main event will be Rey Vargas defending his WBC junior featherweight title against Azat Hovhannisyan.
Kevin Spangler and Chris Golden are in the heart of a grueling stretch of golf coverage at the Players Championship, live from TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Chris has been up each morning in the wee hours to handle the early shift before Kevin comes in to round out the long day. So long as we don’t go into a playoff, Kevin and Chris will head home on Monday for some well-deserved rest. Nice work out there, guys! With such a big tournament going on, our friends at Golf Channel have almost all of their focus on Sawgrass this week. But project manager Jennifer Hyder-Michaels is setting up for not two, not three, but six simultaneous tournaments and events next week. More on this golf action in next week’s roundup.
Rick Kolinek’s spending the weekend at his second home: TCF Bank Stadium at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He and K22 will be on hand when the San Jose Earthquakes take on the Minnesota United FC in Major League Soccer action, which will be ingested at PSSI International Teleport (PIT) and distributed across the AT&T Global Video Service network.
Jonathan Ayala and Kyle Meyer are at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas, with C27 this week for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 37 Kind Days 250 and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series KC Masterpiece.
Meanwhile, right here in LA we will have Chris Hovden and Nathan Holsey (with a little setup help from Brian Blomstrom) handling the transmission for TLC’s “This Is Life Live.” This is the live version of the groundbreaking miniseries that shows the personal stories and views of families as they experience life-altering moments. Each episode next week will feature two unique stories from people around the country, and Chris and Nathan will make sure viewers nationwide can watch on the edge of their seats in their living rooms.
But of course, we can’t forget the most important event of the weekend — Mother’s Day! From all of us at PSSI Global Services, a huge thank you to all the wonderful moms out there.