Fox Sports Tees Up Tech for U.S. Open Coverage

AR, drones, select coverage in 4K on tap
US Open 2017 erin hills.jpg

Fox Sports said it will pull some advanced tech from its bag for its coverage of the 117th U.S. Open Championship, set for June 18, on Fox, FS1, Fox Deportes and its TV Everywhere app, Fox Sports Go.

Fox’s coverage of the tournament will include augmented reality elements, 4K video from certain holes at Erin Hills, the use of drones, and expanded use of “shot trackers.”

On the AR side, Fox Sports will implement a 75-foot Strada Camera Crane that will enable graphic elements to be displayed on the course, as well as a “studio jib,” that will provide some AR-supported analysis of the golf course in a studio setting.

Fox Sports will also equip all 18 holes with technology that can trace the flight of the golf gall, whether over live video or via a graphic representation of the specific golf hole. Nine tee boxes will be equipped with Toptracer technology, allowing for live ball trace over video, and the remaining nine tee boxes will use Trackman radar, allowing for a combination of ball tracing and enhanced data.

Fox Sports is also teaming with DirecTV to offer offering coverage of three holes in 4K via a “Featured Holes Channel.”

The network will also use a fleet of drones to provide some unique images from each of the 18 holes at Erin Hills.

All of those initiatives are being done through Fox Sports Lab.

Among other stats tied to the event, Fox Sports will have 461 technicians involved, use 36 miles of fiber optics, employ 704 Ethernet ports that are distributed around the course, and manage 3 Gbps of Internet data and 73 Gbps of broadcast data. The network will also use 26 wireless cameras, four jib cameras, and 216 microphones.

"Over the last two years, we’ve had some great opportunities to really enhance and develop new tools for our production team,” Zac Fields, Fox Sports SVP graphic tech & innovation, said in a statement. “This year’s U.S. Open features the best complement of technology that we’ve ever had. We’re incredibly excited and look forward to offering golf fans a great viewing experience." 

“Through the use of drone technology, Fox Sports is out to capture the beauty of Erin Hills and the challenges the course presents the world’s best golfers,” added Brad Cheney, Fox Sports VP of field operations & engineering. “This is our third year working to give viewers the true and unique perspective of being on the golf course that only drones can deliver.”