Bexel alongside NEP Group delivered superior service and a coordinated approach for Fox Sports’ broadcast of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Paris.With the support and resources from the NEP Worldwide Network, Bexel and NEP divisions from the United Kingdom and Europe helped the network reach technical achievements and enabled the show’s upgrade to 4K for the tournament.
Fox Sports’ coverage of the Women’s World Cup tournament had specific technical requirements for the broadcast, including the logistical challenges of producing the sporting event remotely from the Fox Sports production hub in Los Angeles, California more than 6,000 miles (nearly 9,700 kilometers) away from the tournament in France.Bexel was tasked to design a production environment for Fox Sports that had the flexibility and scale to meet the needs of producing in UHD for the Women’s World Cup games, as well as HD for the Men’s Gold Cup tournament, happening concurrently.There were also space limitations and expenses on-site at Fox Sport’s World Cup studio set at Café de l’Homme in Paris, resulting in increased coordinated efforts from Bexel to provide additional facilities in Los Angeles to complement NEP UK’s Aurora mobile unit in Paris, happening in a different resolution and frame rate (1080/50p).
Bexel developed a broadcast system to supplement Fox Sports’ Los Angeles facility with custom broadcast facilities and transmission services. In collaboration with the network, Bexel designed the infrastructure months in advance to thoughtfully build out the production environment and anticipate challenges ahead of the broadcast.
Bexel built a world-class broadcast package that included two UHD control rooms with audio suites and dedicated rooms for remote commentary. The production environment consisted of a large Evertz EQX16 router with EMX audio layer, an RTS ADAM intercom frame implemented with RVON for global connectivity and locally using all Omneo-enabled KP-5032 panels, and two Grass Valley Korona Switchers with V-series frames enabling production in UHD and also HD for the Men’s Gold Cup tournament, happening concurrently. The audio suites were outfitted with Calrec Brio 96-channel audio consoles with Dante and MADI, and a Lance Design ADX Dante-based announce booth audio system. These custom rooms were outfitted with furniture, UHD monitors from Boland, scopes from Leader, as well as a host of ancillary equipment.The two Bexel-built control rooms were also repurposed for home-run production suites for the Men’s Gold Cup, happening simultaneously with the Women’s World Cup. Bexel technicians utilized AJA FS4 1-Channel 4K/UltraHD converters to accommodate the different frame rates and resolutions needed to convert from UHD to HD and reconfigure the communication systems nightly for the production of the various games. Bexel’s equipment and technicians were on the job upwards of 20-hours per day for each of those dual-production days.NEP divisions were situated on-site in Paris to support NEP UK’s Aurora mobile unit, which was responsible for broadcasting the half time and pre- and post-game shows, as well as NEP UK’s flypack at the IBC. As a result of the space limitations and expenses at Fox Sport’s World Cup studio set at Café de l’Homme in Paris, Bexel provided additional facilities in Los Angeles to operate as the “B Unit (tape room)” for the Aurora mobile unit. This enabled the control room positions and production equipment for a team of about 20 people to operate remotely in California while creating graphics and playback packages that fed live into the studio show. All production systems tied into CenturyLink’s Vyvx mobile unit which provided end-to-end digital video transmission to and from Paris.
The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup was a dramatic performance that played out in front of a sold-out venue of nearly 60,000 spectators in France’s Stade de Lyon, as well as for millions of viewers at home. The sporting event was a record-breaking victory for the elite female athletes of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT), who successfully defeated the Netherlands, and marked the first time a women’s team has won four World Cup titles. As cited by Nielsen, 20 million viewers tuned in, making this the most-watched soccer match on English-language television since the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.Fox Sports successfully captured the thrilling action and excitement of the competition with the support of some of the most respected broadcast providers in the industry. Dedicated to the “One Team” effort, Bexel and NEP were proud to be a part of this historical broadcast.