For the New York Jets’ in-house video production team, there seems little to improve.
Most of the countless technological features at the state-of-the-art New Meadowlands Stadium – which opened to NFL games a year ago – are back again in 2011. The challenge for Rich Gentile, the team’s senior director of broadcasting and multimedia production, is making it all sing in a whole new way.
For a crew already faced with the sizable task of producing two shows on a game-day that has them “on air” for approximately nine hours, they decided to give their fans even more data than ever before.
Added In-Venue Enhancements
The Jets have partnered with the innovative Chicago-based company Sportvision, best known for its development of the Emmy-Award-winning Virtual Yellow 1st & Ten Line.
The Jets experimented with the 1st & Ten Line on their A Show during four home games last season and it will be a feature of the production for the entirety of the 2011 home slate. Other Sportvision graphical enhancements Gentile and his team will use include the Player Tracker, Drive Chart, Pass Track, and Synthetic Video.
These features will allow Gentile to package virtual replays loaded with data such as top running speed, total distance traveled, a quarterback’s time to his release point, etc.
“It does take a little bit of time to build, so if we have a big play it will probably be during the next possession that it will be seen,” says Gentile. “Plus, it has to be seen at a time when it’s not so bizarre to see it; usually during a timeout.”
Where It’s All Going
Though the Jets and Giants have completely separate video departments, they operate with mostly the same facilities and equipment.
Twenty video screens, or pylon boards, of varying sizes — from 40 to 60 ft. in height — outside of the stadium greet fans. Inside the bowl, four 118-foot wide, 32:9-aspect-ratio video boards are positioned above the corners of each end zone while a 360-degree LED ribbon board wraps around the base of the upper deck. In addition, 2,150 IPTV flat-screen monitors are positioned throughout the stadium in concourses, suites, and concession stands.
If there’s one fact that the Jets proved last season, it’s that they make for great television. That’s music to the ears of Gentile, who is spoiled by a winning team deep with captivating personalities.
Gentile and his crew will produce two original programs for the local WCBS affiliate in New York, CBS-2. Jets Flight Plan returns for a third season as the club’s pregame show airing at 11:30 p.m. ET on Sundays. The team’s new show, Jets Huddle, is a news magazine/lifestyle program that is slated to air at 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday nights after the late local news.
“We’re the positive voice, we’re the positive beacon for this club, and regardless of what’s going on, we’re always going to be the positive light for everybody who follows the Jets, and the players really appreciate that,” says Gentile. “It’s really fun and it’s not about going 14-2 or 2-14, its about what kind of a person are you besides being a professional football player.”