The Carolina Panthers football team engages its fans year-round, delivering content to drive game day attendance, viewership, and brand loyalty. From the NFL draft and stadium upgrades to free agency and how players stay fit in the off season, fans seek out content that keeps them connected to the team. For the Panthers, the demand for video is growing exponentially. “There’s no off-season for production,” states Stephen Manderville, Broadcast Content Manager. “We create compelling stories and entertaining videos, year-round. The more content we put out, the more the public consumes.”
Fans aren’t just consuming more content; they’re looking for it on a diversity of platforms. For years, Panthers broadcast television created the most content, producing everything from docuseries to player features, and highlight videos. Today, in-venue entertainment is an increasingly important part of the fan experience and the team’s PantherVision department is engaging fans with unique, high-quality content for the game board at the Bank of America Stadium. At the same time, the Panthers’ social media presence is exploding.
We’ve done a lot more high-res work this year. I’ve directed multiple shoots with anamorphic lenses and added higher-end drone footage, all shot at UltraHD or higher. What I love about Avid is whatever is in my mind’s eye, I can create inside Avid.
PAT STAGE, PANTHERVISION MANAGER OF PRODUCTION
“We want to create the best possible experience for our fans and give them a return on their investment,” adds Pat Stage, PantherVision Manager of Production. PantherVision is responsible for all content that goes on the scoreboard, from intro and hype videos, to sponsorship activation. Its mission, according to Stage, is to deliver on fans’ expectations for a high-impact show and provide excitement beyond the action on the field.
“When it comes to content, no matter what the medium, whether it’s the scoreboard or television shows, digital properties or the content we create for corporate partners and sponsors, everything is about the fan experience. We have to keep growing and look for new avenues to elevate the fan experience.”
To keep the content flowing, the Panthers updated their production facilities, implementing Avid’s comprehensive workflow solutions to share and repurpose media across a range of departments and platforms. With thousands of hours of video content, the ability to easily repurpose media is not only critical, it’s essential. “Avid has made it easier for us to be able to push content out as quickly as we do. It has made our world easier by freeing-up our workflow,” states Manderville.
Building a production environment that anticipates the future
Traditionally, the Panthers upgraded their media production technology every five to six years. But, with the push to deliver more content, faster, across multiple platforms, the Panthers decided to be proactive. They worked with Avid and its channel partner Marshall Graphics to design a comprehensive Enterprise Agreement, which provides the Panthers’ with upgrades to Avid’s technology, as well as training and services for the next six years, at discounted pricing.
As part of the Enterprise Agreement, the Panthers replaced their Avid ISIS storage with two Avid NEXIS shared storage systems, and plan to add a third Avid NEXIS within a year. They also added the Avid MediaCentral platform to integrate content creation, management, and distribution across their media departments.
“The Enterprise Agreement enabled me to build one of the best edit suites of any sports team,” notes Stage. “Plus, as we expand, we have the assurance that we can grow with the Enterprise Agreement.”
Gaining the flexibility to be creative
For Manderville, Avid NEXIS shared storage is key. “Avid allows us to focus more on editing and being creative, and not worry about the backend of the workflow and how things work or should work,” explains Manderville. “Avid NEXIS gives us the capability to tap into the world of UltraHD and 4K with ease, knowing we have the space. We can shoot increasingly higher frame rates and take on more complex formats. We also can keep more media online and pull historical clips without having to import media. That shortens workflows and saves time.”
Avid has made it easier for us to be able to push content out as quickly as we do. It has made our world easier by freeing up our workflow.
STEPHEN MANDERVILLE, BROADCAST CONTENT MANAGER
Stage also is looking to Avid’s solutions to support his creative vision. “We’ve done a lot more high-res work this year. I’ve directed multiple shoots with anamorphic lenses and added higher-end drone footage, all shot at UltraHD or higher. What I love about Avid is whatever is in my mind’s eye, I can create inside Avid,” notes Stage. “I don’t have to compromise anything from a creative standpoint or find different companies or plugins to get something to work. The speed and efficiency of Avid NEXIS has given me the flexibility that I need to deliver the best possible content for our fans.”
Repurposing and distributing content quickly
MediaCentral enables the Panthers to manage and share footage across different departments, providing everyone with equal access to media simultaneously. Although each department creates unique content, it’s all stored in Avid NEXIS and easily accessed and shared through MediaCentral. Even the Panthers social media team, which currently uses Premiere Pro, can browse content within MediaCentral and pull clips into Premiere Pro. They don’t need to be on a Media Composer system or in an edit suite. “We’re shooting a ton of content,” states Manderville. “We would like our social media and digital team to be able to use some of that footage. MediaCentral has really sped up that workflow.”
Passionate fans, committed sponsors
As for the impact of the Panthers content, on game days, all 75,523 seats in Bank of American Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina are sold out. Sponsorships for the television broadcasts have sold out for the last two years. “I think that speaks for the quality of our content,” concludes Manderville. “The more powerful our social media and broadcasting becomes the more attractive it is for advertisers to want to be there.”