As all of our friends in the live television business know, you don’t get much of a vacation over Thanksgiving weekend. Special thanks to our guys in the field and in the offices working and traveling over the holiday weekend. We all know we’re in a 24/7 business, but it’s never easy to spend Thanksgiving away from family and friends, most of whom are at home watching our hard work on their television screens. And there’s plenty of work to be done this weekend! Here’s a look at what we’re up to.
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without football. Let’s move from West to East with a summary of all the big games we’re bringing to football fans this weekend, the final weekend of what has been a busy and successful season.
David Meyer and Wes Hill will meet up in Pullman, Washington on Thanksgiving night to get all set for the big rivalry game between Washington and Washington State on Friday night. Martin Stadium’s going to be rocking on Friday night, and you can see all the action on Fox.
On Saturday evening Brian Blomstrom will be at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, NV for the in-state rivalry game between Nevada and UNLV on CBS Sports Network.
Also on Saturday, Todd Harvey will be at SDCCU Stadium for Hawaii versus San Diego State. Todd will be engineering at at-home transmission via fiber back to ESPN headquarters in Connecticut, where our friends at ESPN will produce the game for broadcast.
Down in Tucson, AZ, John Jennings will be at Arizona Stadium for Saturday’s matchup between Arizona and Arizona State.
Drifting eastward, the big 4K game of the week will be live from Lawrence, KS, where Larry Sheets and Joe Cox will have two C-band trucks side-by-side to transmit an HD/4K mux of the game between the Texas Longhorns and Kansas Jayhawks on Friday. This is our last regular season 4K game of the year for our friends at Fox. It’s been a great season of cutting-edge transmissions!
Mike Sheehan isn’t too far up the road in C49 for one of two big SEC games on CBS. Mike’s at Faurot Field in Columbia, MO for testing on Thanksgiving Day in advance of Friday’s game between Arkansas and the Missouri Tigers on CBS.
Not much rest for Mike, who heads back to his home state of Colorado and heads to Denver Sunday for the Broncos game. Mike will be doing live pre- and post-game hits for KDKA in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are looking good this year, but the Broncos will surely bring their best to the table on Sunday.
Big football weekend in Iowa. Dave Brin and Steve Hagerty will be meeting up on Thanksgiving in Iowa City to get ready for the big game on Friday between the Hawkeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers. From there Dave heads to Ames, where the Cyclones hosts Kansas State for Saturday’s game.
Big game down in Texas as Oklahoma State is in Ft. Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday. John May will be manning the C-band side of the CK48 mobile teleport at Amon G. Carter Stadium, while Mati Kerpen comes to town to take care of the Ku-band path for Fox.
Dallas-based Ron Ford will take a drive to Ruston, LA for Saturday’s game at Louisiana Tech’s Joe Aillet Stadium. Western Kentucky is in town for the game, which will air on CBS SportsNet.
Couple of big games in Ohio this weekend that we’ll be in town to cover. Justin Roszak will be doing last huge at-home transmission for CBS Sports Network this Friday in Athens, OH, as Akron is in town to take on the Ohio University Bobcats on Friday. Justin will be doing his patented 14-channel uplink to the PSSI International Teleport (PIT), who will ingest the signal on pass on to the AT&T Global Video Services network to CBS headquarters in NYC. Justin has it down to a science, and we’re looking forward to more at-home transmissions for our friends at CBS and other networks, as well.
Benny Griffis is just up the road from Justin at the Ohio State University in Columbus, where the Buckeyes host the Michigan Wolverines. This is a huge game in the Big 10, and Benny will have a day of testing on Friday before Saturday’s game.
And just a little further north, the CK25 mobile teleport will be back in East Lansing, MI for Michigan State football. This time it’s Kevin Spangler and Nick Ray with C-band and Ku-band paths for Fox’s broadcast of the game between the Spartans and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday.
Last, but certainly not least, on our football schedule is Auburn versus Alabama. Director of Broadcast Sports Rick Ball wouldn’t miss this game for the world, and neither would just about any college football fan in the country. Rick will be setting up shop at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Friday in advance of Saturday afternoon’s kickoff. It has been another great run throughout the SEC for Rick and our friends at CBS, and we’ll be looking forward to the SEC Championship in Atlanta soon.
Rick Ball has had quite the travel itinerary over the past 10 days. He kicked off the week in Maui, Hawaii alongside Todd Harvey to set up one of our our big C-band antennas at Lahaina Civic Center in preparation for a week’s worth of hoops at the Maui Invitational. We do this event every year for ESPN, and we’re also looking forward to the upcoming Aloha Bowl on the big island (and we will have another Ku-band truck on the island soon). Mr. Harvey will be in town until Thanksgiving for the show, but Mr. Ball has already left for Las Vegas.
And boy do we have a show in Vegas. Rick joins Brian Blomstrom, Rick Varney, and Executive Vice President Brian Nelles at Shadow Creek Golf Course, where our team has been setting up since Monday for Friday’s golf pay-per-view. That’s right – a golf PPV! It’s The Match, 18 holes of golf between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson with a lot of money on the table for the winner (and for charity, of course). Word has it the guys already have a few side bets going! Our team is there with the CK35 mobile teleport and the Atlas truck. We will be providing extensive PPV origination services for our friends at Turner – including 4K encoding, transmission, and monitoring – for distribution around the world.
Speaking of golf, Blake Blomstrom is headed to the Bahamas this weekend to set up for a week’s worth of transmission services for Golf Channel News, live from the Albany Resort.
John Bright’s already there in our Bahamas truck on behalf of ESPN. John’s spending his Thanksgiving uplinking the Battle 4 Atlantis basketball tournament at the Atlantis Imperial Arena before he travels back to the mainland for some more production work in Los Angeles.
Keeping with college hoops, Dave “Mitch” Mitchell has some on his schedule, albeit in a location that’s a little less exotic than the Atlantis. Mitch is back in Morgantown, WV at WVU Coliseum for Saturday’s game between the Mountaineers and Valparaiso.
And why not a little hockey? Rick Kolinek will do the first of many transmissions of AHL hockey for our friends at Program Productions. This Friday Rick’s in Rockford, IL at the BMO Harris Bank Centre for the Chicago Wolves versus the Rockford IceHogs.
Some soccer, too. Chris Golden is finishing up a great few weeks of coverage of the U-20 tournament at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, when the US Men’s team takes on Mexico in the final. This has been a great introduction to what’s going to be a long working relationship with our friends at CONCACAF!
We’re keeping plenty busy on the News Group side of the house, as well. Todd Anderson and Max Lewis continue their marathon coverage of the devastating Paradise fire for CNN. Al Meshberg, Steve Mills, and Bob Tweed were working the fires as well, but will get some well-deserved rest soon. In brighter news, Chris Stewart will be in NYC for CNN’s coverage of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday morning.
We’ve got some fighting on both coasts (and well beyond). In Atlantic City, project managers Eric Hall and Jason Land join EIC Paul Blomstrom and engineers Mike Howley, Dennis Smith, and Dave Buckman at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on the famous Boardwalk. Dmitry Bivol versus Jean Pascal is the main event, but our team will be there for testing on Friday and all the undercards leading up to the title bout on HBO. We will be handling all domestic and international transmission services for our friends at HBO Boxing, as we’ve done for many years.
We’re up to something new out West: our friends at Golden Boy Promotions are putting on an MMA pay-per-view, live from the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, CA. Project manager Michael Hollander is leading the charge for this weekend’s big event. Engineers Steve Chaisson, Mark Huss, and Chris Hovden will be right there with him to provide multiple redundant origination paths for domestic and international distribution. The main event features MMA legend Chuck Liddell squaring off against Tito Ortiz, another name that MMA fans around the world will recognize. Here again we have a full day of testing on Friday prior to the PPV event on Saturday, which will also feature many exciting undercards. We are proud to be in on the ground floor with our friends at Golden Boy as they venture into new horizons beyond the world of boxing.
Speaking of venturing, world travelers Keith Valeri and Tracy Michaels are in Beijing, China. Keith and Tracy will oversee local transmission vendors outside the Cadillac Arena – the city’s biggest entertainment venue – for UFC Fight Night. The headliner match features Curtis Blaydes versus Francis Ngannou in a heavyweight bout, and there’s a fight card full of local fighters leading up to this main event. Keith and Tracy will ensure the multiple origination signals reach their destinations around the world, including the United States, where the event will air on Saturday afternoon. We’re looking forward to hearing about what Thanksgiving in China is like!
All of us at PSSI Global Services, from coast to coast and across the sea, wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving.