ESS completes 1st phase of technical overhaul

NEW DELHI: After more than a decade of running Asia’s sports channel, ESPN Star Sports has unveiled the first phase of a massive makeover that includes an overhaul of its transmission and master control facility.


The expansion project came after many years of deliberation. Detailed planning for the project began in February 2004. The upgrade allows ESPN Star Sports to run in an environment with far more comprehensive automation control.

“Before this upgrade, our transmission suites were manual and we used automation solely for server control. The ‘live’ nature of our channels did not support an automated environment. But as these systems developed, we saw it as a great opportunity to streamline our operations,” ESPN Star Sports director of engineering Andy Rylance,said in a statement today, ESPN Star Sports runs about 35 per cent of its programmes ‘live’ with the other 65 per cent being repeats of matches and games.

The upgrade in the ESPN Star Sports facility involved a rebuild that covered the transmission area (TX), TX supervisor area, master control room and engineering workshop among others.

The broadcaster chose to work with Television System Limited (TSL) as its system integrator.

Reconstruction of the transmission suites kicked off last July with TSL building and testing the entire system in the UK before it was shipped to Singapore. By February, most of the installations at ESPN Star Sports’ headquarters were complete.



The heart of the facility revolves around a multi-channel desk which gives ESPN Star Sports the technical capability to monitor and control any number of channels. Each of the network’s 12 channels has its own master control and channel-branding graphics generator.

This allows the broadcaster to customize channels for specific markets to specific sponsorship requirements. “In the past, one operator manned each single desk, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This upgrade has enabled us to run our operations more effectively, “Rylance was quoted in the statement as saying.

ESPN Star Sports now looks forward to the next phase of its upgrade in July 2006 which will involve the installation of a server-based production system, enabling the broadcaster to move towards a tapeless environment.

ESPN Star Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between ESPN Inc (a Disney group company) and Rupert Murdoch-controlled Star Group. On the ground, the ESPN Star Sports Event Management Group manages and promotes premier sporting events around Asia, including the Asian X Games and the San Miguel Asian Ball Tour.

On-line,, and interact with millions of users providing them with in-depth sports news, results and competitions. This multilingual, online platform, which is closely integrated with ESPN and Star Sports on air networks, has established the sites as a hot on-line sports destination in their respective markets.

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