Nestled in the heart of Indianapolis, Indiana, Butler University is transforming into an epicenter for Esports, having just opened the doors to its new Esports Park. This state-of-the art facility connects members of the Esports community and broadcasts games using NewTek’s iconic TriCaster®, 3Play® and PTZ products.
Originally established as a student-led initiative in 2017, Butler University has helped foster its students’ passion for Esports and gaming into an opportunity for players to grow academically, competitively, and professionally. It has since transformed into a flagship location for the sport and one of the most competitive programs in the country with Butler’s varsity Esports teams competing in the BIG EAST Conference, in both Rocket League and League of Legends.
Butler’s first-of-its-kind Esports Park is a 7,500-square-foot, multi-use facility featuring approximately 40 gaming PCs, gaming consoles, a virtual reality area, café, and community office spaces. The space offers gameplay memberships, access for corporate training, youth STEM events and Esports camps.
With a facility hosting such live events and streams it was necessary to have strong broadcasting production capabilities. Butler University chose the NewTek TriCaster® TC1 video production platform and NewTek 3Play® 3P1 sports video production solution, and three NewTek NDI®|HX PTZ2 cameras, which enabled the studio to extend its live production capabilities with ease.
“Our facility required adaptable livestream technology which was easy to understand and use. This was especially important given our efforts to host various livestream competitions while also providing students with hands-on production experience and learning opportunities,” John Lacheta, Butler University’s Manager of Facilities and Operations, said. “The versatility of the NewTek production products was extremely attractive for this reason.”
Striving for the highest-quality production possible, the production team used the TriCaster® to connect and switch between the multiple cameras being used to film its competitions.
Additionally, all TriCasters are IP-enabled using the NDI® standard, which allows users to connect devices such as cameras, microphones, intercoms, and lighting through Ethernet cabling and provides two-way communication. The TriCaster® allowed the production team to easily connect and manage camera switching while improving the studio production efficiency.
“The flexibility of this system allows us to support a plethora of events of different shapes and sizes. The agility of the NDI® standard plays a massive role in how we can shift from classroom to open play and live event modes quickly and with intent,” Nathan Duke, Manager of Esports Programs and Facility Operations, Butler Esports, said.
“Given that we host so many high-profile Esports events, it was necessary for us to have the technology that could easily ingest a magnitude of virtual signals and tie them all into a network quality product for our fans and players. TriCaster® with NDI® did just that, all while not requiring an intense production setup.”
In addition to TriCaster®, Butler University used NewTek’s 3Play® sports replay production system to enhance the event atmosphere. Instant replays using 3Play® allows broadcasters to make smaller events more engaging and provide the appearance of network-style shows. The team was able to provide viewers with slow motion replays of the action and use the clips to easily create highlight reels at the end of the event, all at a fraction of the cost of traditional replay systems.
Jeremy Morris, Senior Sales Engineer for NewTek AMECS, and a Butler alumnus, provided the demo to the university and assisted the construction team on the initial design of the space.
“It was a pleasure to be able to remotely demo our product portfolio to the Butler staff back in the initial planning phase of the project,” Morris said. “It allowed me to show not only the capabilities of the products, but how they integrate with other components required in the space to provide a seamless NDI® & Dante workflow and transition between use cases. I was able to then work with the design engineers to make sure the system flow met the needs of the client as well as the budget. Esports is an exploding market in video production and technology advancement and I’m excited to see where this new Esports facility can take us.”
NewTek products are already in use at the College of Communications at Butler, and with the addition of the Esports minor, the CCOM students now have the same equipment in each location. The Esports minor was launched in Fall 2021 within the College of Communication to build in-demand skills needed for success in the booming world of competitive gaming.
In March 2023, Butler will host the first BIG EAST Esports championships at the Esports Park on the campus of Butler University. This selection represents another opportunity to showcase the University’s facility and to highlight the live production capabilities powered by NewTek.
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