The NBA’s Detroit Pistons Go Wireless at the Palace

The Palace of Auburn Hills adopts ABonAir wireless broadcasting for Detroit Pistons home games

The Customer: Palace Sports and Entertainment (PS&E)/Detroit Pistons
Project Consultant: Anthony James Partners (AJP)
System Integrator: Comprehensive Technical Group (CTG)
The Application: 41 home games in-arena coverage of Detroit Pistons
The Challenge: Complete arena coverage without a tethered cabled camera
The Solution: AB420 wireless transmitters with fiber coverage extender, integrated CCU and intercom
The Result: Entire arena coverage for a greater fan experience

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The Customer: Palace Sports and Entertainment
Palace Sports and Entertainment operates sports and music venues including The Palace of Auburn Hills, the home of the Detroit Pistons. The Palace, considered to be the first of the modern-style NBA arenas, has a seating capacity of over 20,000 seats for NBA games. The Detroit Pistons have earned their place as one of the city’s most loved professional sports franchises.

The Application: Arena-wide Live Wireless NBA Game Broadcasting
The Detroit Pistons basketball season is covered live with 41 home games, 3.5 hours of coverage per game. PS&E was looking for top of the line wireless broadcast transmission system to use along with its wired cameras for the Pistons live game productions. Using Ikegami HDK-95c Broadcast Camera, they needed a fitting wireless system to cover any spot in the arena so that they could provide a higher quality fan experience.

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The Challenge: Cover Everything, Everywhere [in the arena]
Live basketball coverage requires agility and creativity. Basketball is challenging due to the speed of turnovers, breakaways, last minute full court shorts, and plays that spill out-of-bounds. Sports fans don’t settle with simply watching the game anymore; they want to experience it. They want to see the players as they exit the tunnel; they want to see what goes on behind the scenes in the dressing rooms, special angles for dunks and even warm-up sessions…

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PS&E needed the camera to have access to all the points of the arena - Floor, Lower Bowl, Upper Bowl, without a tethered cabled camera. They also required a wireless system with full control over the camera, an integrated intercom, and access to all parameters from OCP/CCU.

One of the challenges of the arena is the antenna location which is usually installed close to the control center, where the receiver is. However, the Palace’s control room sits deep inside the arena, surrounded by concrete and metal and without a line-of-sight to the bowl where the cameras are. The antenna install point was far from the control room. Therefore there was a need to connect the receiver to the antennas far from the antennas efficiently and without signal loss.

The Solution: ABonAir AB420 and Fiber Coverage Extender
ABonAir’s AB420 wireless broadcast system, attached to Ikegami HDK-95c, enabled the PS&E production team to reach all points of the arena, delivering reliable and stable wirelesscoverage of the Detroit Pistons games.

The ABonAir Fiber Coverage Extender (FCE) provided flexible antenna deployment through fiber optic cables without complex RF cables or signal attenuation. It enabled installing the receiver at the control center, far from the antenna array in the bowl, at a 4th floor mid-court location.

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The AB420 integrated Camera Control Units (CCU or RCP), Tally Light and Intercom allowed the production team to perfectly control the games’ multi-camera broadcasts. The MIMO (Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output) radio and modem architecture allows for simultaneous transmission of two data streams via two radio transceivers. Combining signals into one signal in the receiver produces better coverage and link stability.

About ABonAir
ABonAir designs and markets wireless video link systems for professional camera and production teams worldwide. Our unique bi-directional technology enables us to provide exceptionally robust and reliable wireless video links. ABonAir’s solutions are especially designed for news coverage (ENG), outdoor sports, reality shows, entertainment, live-events and video-assist.

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