May 18, 2022

Play Ball: Metinteractive’s video production system spotlights new Polar Park stadium

Metropolitan interactive, doing business as Metinteractive, knows how to play ball. The company, which provides strategic solutions to the interplay of architecture, communications and technology, supplied a complete video production system for the control room at Polar Park, the new home of the Worcester Red Sox, a Triple-A baseball club and affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. The new stadium opened for the 2021 season and can accommodate over 9,500 spectators.

“Polar Park represents a transition from the former Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester as well as a new commitment to economic development in the downtown district. These folks are seriously committed to delivering an MLB-level spectacle for WooSox customers,” CEO Jeff Mele said.

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The Polar Park Control Room is the venue’s media center broadcasting games for the New England Sports Network, broadcasting workouts and piloting the live scoreboard show. Metinteractive collaborated with ANC on the project, one of several sports-related jobs the two companies have partnered on.

Installing the control room posed a number of challenges: it was tight on budget and took place at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and while stadium construction was still underway. Nevertheless, Metinteractive was able to upgrade much of the specified equipment to a higher professional standard, provide Plexiglas screens and dividers to provide control room security for its staff, train employees in the use new systems and even provide temporary fiber to the outfield for camera connectivity.

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“We had people in the control room wearing hard hats and running programs,” recalls Keith Book, design director of Metinteractive who served as design engineer and commissioner for the Polar Park project. “There was no break between the end of construction and the start of baseball season, so the site was an active construction site while we were working on it.”

The video production system includes Hitachi ENG cameras with ElationLogic telemetry, Clear-Com Partyline and wireless intercom systems, Ross Carbonite switching and Evertz replay. Metinteractive offered a Ross Ultrix router, which can natively handle all audio lanes for streams. The control room also includes a Yamaha MADI to Dante interface and a powerful Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixer, which integrates with the router without the need for analog cabling. ElationLogic software also manages all work surfaces in the room, including consoles and office equipment turrets.

“Our team really pulled together to make the Polar Park control room a truly professional, ergonomic and safe working environment,” Book said. “We even changed the layout of the space by adjusting the positions of the operators to provide a more logical workflow.”

Jesse LaBranche was a senior technician and project manager for Metinteractive at Polar Park, with Jesse Alford also serving as a senior technician.

Metinteractive was sent to the major leagues this season to work on a project for the Los Angeles Dodgers.