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Sports Opening Doors with Cuba

Signs of improved relations between the U.S. and Cuba can already been seen in the TV industry, with U.S. channel One World Sports set to air a June 2 soccer match between the New York Cosmos and the Cuba national team.

The production will be the first live sports event with a U.S. team airing from Cuba since 2008, and the first such match produced in HD, says Joel Feld, executive VP of programming and production at One World Sports. The soccer game will air in the U.S. to more than 30 million cable, satellite and telco homes and via the Watch One World Sports authenticated app for mobile users.

The effort, which comes less than six months after President Obama announced plans to resume diplomatic ties between the two countries, involves extensive cooperation between the U.S. network and the Cuban TV industry, notably Havanabased RTV Commercial, which is providing a new HD truck.

“It was important to partner with our colleagues in Cuba to produce the show because it would save a significant amount of headaches in trying to bring in a mobile truck,” says Feld.

For the match, One World Sports will have a small crew in Cuba produce additional material and analysis but RTV’s truck and crew will produce the game. A clean feed will be sent to the Intelsat 805 satellite, which will deliver it to the channel’s operations within the Encompass Digital Media Stamford Connecticut facility. Announcers will provide play-by-play from monitors in the facility, and graphics will be added.

Bob Brown, VP of broadcast operations and engineering at One World Sports, says that the single unit truck comes equipped with eight Sony HSC-300R cameras, a Ross Video Carbonite Switcher, a four-channel EVS Nano, Sony XDCAM tape machines and Ross XPression graphics. “The truck is really quite an impressive mobile unit,” he says.