SVG Summit Draws Record Crowd, Spotlights Top Tech Trends in Sports Production

By Jason Dachman on December 13, 2018

The 13th-annual SVG Summit drew a packed house of more than 1,400 sports-production professionals at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel Dec. 10-11 for two days of informational panels, star-studded keynotes, in-depth workshops, cutting-edge technology showcases, and plenty of networking opportunities. With 50 sessions featuring 155 speakers as well as more than 70 exhibits, the 2018 SVG Summit was the largest yet and offered a little bit of something for everyone — no matter their role in the sports-production business.

Stay tuned to for full video recaps, podcasts, and further coverage of the 2018 SVG Summit in the coming days.

Day 1 Workshops: SVGW, IP, Cloud, Audio, Venue, MAM, and SVG Digital 
Day 1 of the SVG Summit once again featured a full day of workshops designed to provide attendees with a deep-dive look at the industry’s latest technology trends. The annual SVGW meeting kicked the morning off with a look at “Planning and Managing the Year’s Biggest Events” featuring top female execs from Major League Baseball, MLB Network, NBC Sports Group, and the USTA.

The 13th-annual SVG Summit drew more than 1,400 attendees at the NY Hilton Midtown Hotel.

Later that morning, a pair of workshops addressed two of the hottest topics in the industry: IP Production and Cloud & Virtualization. The IP Production Workshop took an in-depth look at how networks, leagues, and remote-production–service providers can develop a series of best practices with respect to their compound IP and IT network infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Cloud & Virtualization Workshop focused on cloud-based production, content-management, and distribution workflows currently deployed by sports-media organizations, including a comprehensive look by representatives of MLB Advanced Media at “How the Cloud Will Power the MiLB Media Revolution.”

The third-annual SVG Digital Workshop featured a keynote detailing The Mike’s On app — a first-of-its-kind direct-to-consumer media service that places a single personality, veteran New York sports-talk-radio host Mike Francesa — as its star. In addition, Bleacher Report took the stage for a Digital Content Case Study, and speakers from the New York Giants, Madison Square Garden, Big East Conference, and a variety of tech vendors participated in streaming-centric sessions.

The SVG Venue Production Workshop was headlined by a case study detailing how the NBA is leveraging state-of-the-art technologies to improve the speed, quality, and transparency of statistical data from courtside to beyond. In addition, the opening panel, titled “The Latest in Fan Engagement” was a New York-centric affair with production leaders from the Giants, Knicks, Mets, and NJ Devils.

Day 1 of The SVG Summit featured a series of informative technology workshops.

The Sports Content Management Workshop was anchored by a Keynote Presentation that went “Inside NFL Media’s MAM Overhaul.“ The workshop also featured sessions on AI and machine learning, NVMe and next-gen storage technology, LTO roadmap and applications, and a brand-new concept to close out the day: in “Vendor-Broadcaster Q&A,” MAM leaders from MLB Network, A+E Networks, PGA TOUR Entertainment, University of Notre Dame, and VICE Media engaged in a back-and-forth conversation with vendors Avid, CatDV, Primestream, and Vizrt.

Day 1 also featured a pair of DTV Audio Group Workshops focused on audio production/distribution and issues related to spectrum. The Audio Production & Distribution morning session dealt with Dolby Atmos in Live Production, Real-World IP Integration, Expanding Assisted Mixing Capabilities, Automated Beam-Forming Mic Tracking, and Challenging Conventional Sports Sound Design. In the afternoon, the Spectrum Workshop addressed 600 MHz Carrier Rollout, Production Implications of the Spectrum Crunch, Quantifying 500 MHz Crowding, and Practicalities of Leveraging Alternative Spectrum.

Day 1 Mainstage: The Latest in Remote-Production Technology
Monday’s General Sessions track highlighted IP-based workflows, SMPTE ST 2110 developments, and how these new ways of signal transport will transform the way the industry works and serves content to sports fans.

The session kicked off with a deeper look at “New Standards That Will Make a Difference” by SMPTE President and MediaKind SVP, Technology, Matthew Goldman. Other topics included “Next-Generation Graphics and Data Visualization” (featuring ESPN, Mixon Digital, MLB Ross Video, and Sportradar), “The Virtualized Truck” (featuring Aperi, Fox Sports Detroit, Mobile TV Group, and NEP Group), “1080p HDR Production Workflows” (CBS Sports, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, and Sony), and “Remote Production Design Update” (Game Creek Video, Grass Valley, Mobile TV Group, and NEP).

Day 2 Mainstage: Lazarus, Ebersol Headline Star-Studded Tuesday 
On Tuesday, the SVG Summit unified into a single general session featuring panel discussions and keynote conversations with leaders from the sports-production community that took a high-level look at HDR workflows, esports, REMI/at-home/home-run production, augmented reality, and more.

At the SVG Summit, Mark Lazarus, NBC Broadcasting and NBC Sports, Chairman, took the stage with SVG Executive Director Ken Kerschbaumer for the afternoon Keynote Conversation.

The day was topped by Keynote Conversations with NBC Broadcasting and NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus and Alliance of American Football co-founder/CEO Charlie Ebersol.

Lazarus took the opportunity to highlight NBC Sports’ successful — and extremely busy — 2018, which featured Super Bowl LII, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and Telemundo’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup. In addition, he touched on the biggest topics facing the industry today, including Disney’s upcoming sale of 20-plus regional sports networks as part of its deal to buy 21st Century Fox assets, Comcast’s acquisition of Sky, and the impact of legalized sports betting.

Charlie Ebersol, Alliance of American Football, Co-Founder and CEO, served as the morning Keynote Conversation.

Earlier in the day, Ebersol previewed the upcoming launch of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), which will begin play in February. Ebersol, whose father Dick co-launched the XFL more than a decade ago with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, detailed why he believes a spring football league will be successful and how viewers can expect plenty of next-gen technology and gambling integration in AAF coverage.

The day also featured the following sessions: “What’s Next in Sports Tech?” (speakers from CBS Sports, Fox Sports, NBC Sports, Turner Sports, and Univision Networks), “The Business of Remote Production” (Dome Productions, Game Creek Video, Mobile TV Group, and NEP), “OTT, Social Media, and the Impact on Production” (DailyMotion, NBA, NBC Sports Digital, and Twitter), “Artificial Intelligence and Automated Production” (CBS Sports, ESPN, and Fox Sports), and “Esports, Broadcasting, and Why It Matters” (MLB, Riot Games, Esports Arena Arlington technology solutions provider Simplynew, and Turner Sports/ELEAGUE).