NY Giants use EVS technology to deliver home-field advantage
The New York Giants are eight-time NFL champions (which includes four Super Bowl titles) and have been a part of the NFL since it was just five years old in 1925. The Giants are joint-owners of their New Jersey-based, 82,500 seat home MetLife Stadium and regularly sell out games to as many people.
The Giants know as much as anyone that the advantage a team has when playing at home shouldn’t be underestimated. In Scorecasting, authors Toby Moscowitz and Jon Wertheim compiled the number of home-games won throughout the US’ major sports leagues. Teams playing at home typically win 53.9% of games in MLB (the lowest percentage) and 69.1% in MLS (the highest).
NFL teams on average win 57% of their home games. Familiarity with the facility and the boost that comes from home-team fans both contribute to a more conducive environment to winning games. On top of this, teams can now deploy technology within their stadia to improve their home-field advantage. Like any of today’s professional sports teams, the Giants use in-stadium screens to connect with fans through live instant replays. But during home games, the in-stadium live video production technology is also utilized to maximize the chance of a home win by providing a valuable resource to coaches.
During any game, each team’s head coach has two opportunities to challenge a ruling on the field by an official. Coaches need to be certain before doing this because if their challenge is incorrect, the team will be charged with one of their time-outs – a very valuable asset in a game as strategic as football. The Giants saw their in-stadium replays as an opportunity to give the coaches a more advantageous view of the action, so they can be better informed before they throw their red flag.
The decision was made to implement a dedicated replay workflow during an upgrade to Metlife Stadium’s control room. The system includes two new XT3 live production servers to enable the Giants to get more out of the live video captured on gameday. The first is configured in Dual-LSM mode, which means two operators create content from the same server. This is integrated alongside an LSM Connect interface and IPDirector content management system for the day-to-day in-venue video replays in an HD video workflow. The second server was implemented into a UHD-4K setup integrated with Epsio Zoom, EVS’ Emmy Award-winning replay zooming application – the perfect tools to give coaches a better view of the game.
This UHD-4K workflow ingests live feeds from two Sony HDC-4300 UHD cameras – one in each corner of the field. Operator Jordan Rebimbas uses these feeds to create replays that help the coaching staff. On average, four times per game calls are made on the field that could be a potential challenge by the Giants’ coaching staff. When this occurs, Rebimbas has six to seven seconds to create a replay for them to review. The LSM remote is used to create the replay, then Epsio Zoom lets Rebimbas – from the same controller – zoom into the replay, creating a more in-depth, closer angle for a better view of the controversial play.
Don Sperling, the VP and Executive Producer quickly checks in with Christine Baluyot the Producer in the control room. He then talks to Jordan Rebimbas the EVS operator and decides whether the zoomed-in replay would be beneficial for coaches to see and ensures it plays out correctly on the in-stadium video display boards. From a booth overlooking the field, Sperling can see everything that’s happening on the field as well as all available camera angles using a multiviewer. If needed, they can choose another angle to show the coaches.
“Perhaps one of our backs fumbled the ball, but he was down by contact a split second before the ball gets loose. Maybe an opponent’s catch was called complete but we thought it looked like it just hit the ground first. Game-changing events like touchdowns or third-down incompletions can be affected by our coach’s challenges, so this additional in-stadium workflow is invaluable. It lets them review action again before committing to throwing down a challenge flag,” explains Sperling.
And because Epsio Zoom is designed for operators to utilize 4K replay content while played-out replays are in HD, Rebimbas can zoom in up to four times to output a HD image without losing any resolution – giving coaches the clearest possible view of what’s happening on the grid iron. The two 4K cameras used for this are the Sony 4300’s in the slash position mid-way up in the corners of the stadium to ensure full field coverage.
Once created and deemed beneficial for the coaching staff, the replay is played out by the XT3 server to four 9000 square-foot screens inside the stadium. Coaches can see the last play from a new perspective and decide if they want to challenge the call made by officials on the field.
The Giants’ organization implemented EVS solutions for this coaching replay functionality not only because they were familiar with EVS technology, but so were its operators. This kind of familiarity with solutions is important, especially when operators are required to function at this kind of speed. “We want our operators to feel comfortable with the equipment that they use and they are comfortable with EVS systems,” said Sperling.
Part of the workflow’s speed comes from the uninterrupted link between the XT3 server and the workflow’s cameras. “Another advantage of the EVS system is that you don’t need to go through the switcher,” added Sperling. “The integration between the two Sony cameras and the XT3 makes for a very fast and reliable workflow.”
Epsio Zoom lets the in-house production teams at MetLife Stadium provide coaches with something that’s otherwise unavailable, using technology and live video to far greater advantage on gameday. Sperling said “challenges made by our coaches can really influence games. These tools are really valuable tools in giving them a clear view of what just happened.”
“Football is all about one thing – winning games,” concluded Sperling. “At MetLife Stadium, we use EVS’ Epsio Zoom to help our team win games.”