For the 2023 Cleveland Browns NFL Preseason broadcasts, Kitay Productions, Inc., led by Coordinating Producer Joel Kitay, implemented a modern IP based workflow utilizing the BitFire Media Platform. This new distribution model successfully replaced a costly traditional satellite and fiber workflow.
Each of the three game broadcasts aired live across Ohio, including on the Browns primary affiliate WEWS in Cleveland, as well as local affiliates in Toledo, Dayton, Youngstown, and Columbus. BitFire was also the chosen transmission technology for the broadcasts’ national distribution to NFL Network and FOX Sports.
As an alternative to bringing an uplink truck on-site for multiple days and purchasing costly satellite space, redundant BitFire Engines were integrated into the Lyon Video mobile production unit and provided the full program feed as HD-SDI, complete with CEA-708 closed captions. BitFire Engines were deployed to each of the local affiliates and tested well ahead of the first game to ensure a successful broadcast.
Kitay Productions noted that their transmission fax took as little as ten minutes to check in all stations, replacing a process that took over an hour in previous years.
The BitFire Media Platform also provides the flexibility to handoff transmission in other formats when required. For FOX Sports, BitFire was able to accommodate a gameday request to deliver the broadcast feed to FOX’s assigned SRT endpoints for use in their national coverage.
“The idea behind my BitFire solution was to make it simpler for us, easier for the affiliates, and to do it all cheaper so we could put more money back into the production,” said Kitay. “Across three games, the result exceeded our expectations.”
Kitay also noted that BitFire made it simple to integrate a true net-return feed from the primary affiliate (WEWS) back to the truck. This was a major value add that the production team was unable to use in past seasons. WEWS simply had to connect the on-air feed to an open HD-SDI port on their BitFire Engine, which was then transmitted back to the main production truck for monitoring.
“It was a 100% win for my plan to use Bitfire as the transmission method,” said Kitay. “We simplified the transmission process and reduced our cost.”
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