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University of Arizona Boosts Live Sports Production Control Room with Tightrope Media Systems

ZEPLAY slow motion instant replay system brings new life to venues during game action

The University of Arizona's rich sports tradition and heritage dates to the early 1900s, with 18 NCAA Championship titles to its name among many other titles and awards. The university recently overhauled its live sports production capabilities to more closely align with the grandeur of its sports tradition, transitioning its aging analog control room to an all-digital, HD-capable environment.

Director of Video and Information Technology Matt George oversaw the project, carefully choosing the components that would bring his control room vision to life. He selected Tightrope Media Systems' ZEPLAY slow-motion instant replay system to inject fresh excitement into home Wildcats games, including football, basketball, volleyball and gymnastics.

The ZEPLAY solution was a significant value engineering choice as it literally provided double the bang for the buck in its feature set — and with change to spare


"My main focus is to promote the teams and create an environment for the fans where they will continue to support our events," said George. "ZEPLAY helps us put on a show that rivals what viewers at home are watching on TV."

George wound up purchasing two units for the price of a single competitive system he was evaluating — and with more features and capabilities per unit. Each ZEPLAY provides eight channels of live replay (four in, four out), a built-in multiviewer for studying angles, and extensive tagging options to assist with storage, recall and lightning-fast highlight package creation.

"We build profiles for each sport, and operators can just pull down the home team, type in the player number and use a hot button to tag a play," he said. "This is especially ideal in basketball, where fans are close to the action. We can throw together a quick player highlight package after a scoring spurt to keep the crowd juiced during breaks. We couldn't do that without ZEPLAY's tagging options."

Ease of use has also been a major advantage. George adds that he can — and has — put a non-technical person in front of the system in the pinch.

"We don't have a huge budget for production, so we utilize a lot of student and freelance labor," said George. "I can assign a camera guy who has never run replay for a basketball game and get decent results. It's not a simple system — it does everything we want it to do — but it's simple to operate, and it's very robust and powerful. And things like the built-in multiviewer are a great cost-saver to me as it provides extra information, and features like color outlines and camera titling. Most of the products we looked at gave us the angle and nothing else.

" Systems integration company AVR worked closely with George and his team on design initiatives for the control room and installed all systems, recognizing the clear benefits of including ZEPLAY in the overall solution.

"The ZEPLAY solution was a significant value engineering choice as it literally provided double the bang for the buck in its feature set — and with change to spare," said Jim Mauger, director of engineering, AVR. "It's rare today to see so much quality and reliability for less money. All of this combined to help us provide a winning solution."

AVR also added new routers, switching and audio equipment for the new control room among other systems, while running fiber connections to new digital scoreboards in the venues — the same scoreboards that now enliven the venue environments in cooperation with the ZEPLAY systems. The complete solution gives George and his staff a powerful set of live production tools to keep the fans coming back.

"The new control room is an improvement over the previous one in the way that driving a jalopy on a racetrack would compare to a brand new Corvette," said George.

About Tightrope Media Systems

Founded in 1997, Tightrope Media Systems is the pioneer of web-centric digital signage and broadcast automation systems. It provides station automation, video servers, internet video on demand, live streaming, the Carousel Digital Signage system, and ZEPLAY, a multi-channel instant replay machine for stadiums, arenas and Outside Broadcast vehicles. Tightrope's award winning systems are used throughout the world. You can reach Tightrope Media Systems at (866) 866-4118 or visit them on the web at http://www.trms.com.

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NAB 2017 Ace Award

Tightrope's trade show booth was the winner for best "Awesome Cool Exhibit" in the small island category at NAB 2017. Only four Ace Awards were awarded out of over 1700 eligible exhibitors at NAB 2017.

2015 - APEX INSTALLATION AWARD

The annual DSE Apex Installation Awards honor innovative and compelling content created for digital signage and digital out-of-home networks. This year's 32 Apex Installation Award finalists were chosen by an independent panel of nine industry professionals and named from a field of nearly 80 entrants from 13 countries vying in 11 major digital signage categories.

2014 - AVA Digital Awards Gold Winner

AVA Digital Awards is an international competition that recognizes excellence by creative professionals responsible for the planning, concept, direction, design and production of digital communication. Work ranges from digital engagement campaigns – to audio and video production – to website development – to social media interaction – to mobile marketing.

2014 - AVA Digital Awards Platinum Winner

AVA Digital Awards is an international competition that recognizes excellence by creative professionals responsible for the planning, concept, direction, design and production of digital communication. Work ranges from digital engagement campaigns – to audio and video production – to website development – to social media interaction – to mobile marketing.

2013 - Gold MarCom Award

Tightrope received a Gold MarCom Award for the work done on the Mitsubishi video wall (created for Infocomm 2013). Gold Marcom awards are presented to those entries judged to exceed the high standards of the industry norm. View the wall in action: Mitsubishi Video Wall

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We on the Tightrope Team are very proud of the work that we do. This means we also love when other people want to help spread the word about us. But in order to maintain a consistent identity among others in our industry, we ask that you please make no alteration to the brand assets we make available to you. This includes, but is not limited to, actions like altering descriptions, not using the proper file on the proper background, resizing, and reformatting of images. If you don’t find what you need here in our press kit or if you have a question about consistent usage, please don’t hesitate to email us at marketing@trms.com. 

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