Riedel’s Bolero wireless intercom and Artist digital matrix intercom solutions are providing the comms backbone for the 2020 NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida – a strict isolation zone created to allow the 2019-2020 basketball season to continue while protecting NBA players from Covid-19.

NBA Bubble Bolero UV LockerFirehouse Productions implemented the solution, which enables officials, coaches and production personnel to communicate during NBA games played in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

‘This was a complex installation, and there’s no way we could have met all of the NBA’s comms requirements with any intercom manufacturer other than Riedel. Working with the Riedel team, we were able to design a truly elegant and integrated solution that enables crystal-clear communications while also ensuring that officials, coaches, and producers maintain safe distances from each other,’ says Firehouse Productions’ Vinny Siniscal. ‘The ability to add custom logic to the Artist network is a huge plus because it allowed us to build in more redundancy and ensure effective monitoring for the entire intercom ecosystem. It’s an example of why we chose Riedel, and why Artist and Bolero are our go-to solutions for big events.’ 

Firehouse Productions’ NBA Bubble deployment comprises 12 Riedel Artist intercom nodes, providing almost 500 active communications ports to support 113 master panels; 57 Performer C3 intercom beltpacks; 116 Bolero wireless intercom beltpacks; and 186 analogue 4-wire connections to six onsite OB trucks.

Configured as a fully redundant fibre ring, the Artist nodes are able to support users communicating via Bolero beltpacks throughout the vast ESPN complex – including in the green zone, where games are played on three venues, and the yellow zone, encompassing the technical and broadcast compound.

Using Bolero, personnel who can no longer speak directly with each other due to social distancing measures can now communicate clearly and easily. For instance, coaches and officials are able to converse with scorers and other game personnel who are sequestered behind Plexiglass shields at courtside. Luis Espinal, Intercom Curator for the Firehouse team, built custom logic functions into the Artist nodes that allow specific mic feeds to be routed to specific broadcast trucks. The onsite Bolero universe, based on two fully redundant hub-and-spoke networks of Luminex switches, offers up to 128 multicast flows giving room to grow as more beltpacks are needed. 

‘The NBA Bubble is a perfect example of thinking outside the box to ensure continuity for one of the world’s most popular sports, and we’re proud that Riedel has been able to play such a key role,’ says Riedel North America President and CEO, Joyce Bente. ‘Once again, our partnership with Firehouse Productions has ensured a smooth and highly creative deployment that meets the NBA’s stringent requirements for safe and reliable communications.’

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