Prior to 2007 - when it was acquired and absorbed by sports marketing giant IMG - Octagon CSI was the TV rights and broadcast production arm of global sports and entertainment agency, Octagon Worldwide. The company held a portfolio of media rights to sell on behalf of clients, which included the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the cricket boards of Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe & South Africa. In 2003, for the Cricket World Cup - held in South Africa - Octagon CSI acted as the marketing agent for the Intentional Cricket Commission (ICC) as well as taking on the duties of host broadcaster for the event.
During the lead up to the World Cup Cricket tournament held in South Africa in March 2003, media rights firm Octagon CSI – now part of IMG – selected leading broadcast solutions provider Gravity Media – then branded Gearhouse Broadcast – to provide it with the high-end technical production facilities it required.
The contract saw Gravity Media agree to supply three digital flyaway systems. The flyaways would be used at six of the 15 World Cup 2003 venues. These six venues were spread across three separate countries – South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
As this project presented a variety of logistical challenges, careful planning and effective project management were crucial to the approach taken by Gravity Media. The cricket tournament was not the simplest to broadcast, considering it ran for 44 days, with 54 matches across 15 venues in 3 countries. Gravity Media’s vast prior experience working on major televised sporting events, as well as other complex & geographically diverse projects meant the team was well-equipped to successfully deliver Octagon CSI with the best solutions - on time and to budget.
Only the very best, most advanced equipment and technologies available at the time were selected and configured for use. The three flyaway systems supplied by Gravity Media were totally digital, and designed to operate in venues located in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya.
Each facility consisted of: 10 Sony BVP cameras, 2 Thomson super motion LDK 23HS cameras, 6 JVC mini cameras for run out replays and other dedicated shots, 4 EVS disk recorders and 9 VTR’s, as well as Sony DVS 7350 vision mixers, ProBel routers and Soundcraft B800 audio consoles. The company also supplied 3 Thomson LDK 23’s and 6 EVS disk recorders to compliment local suppliers’ facilities.
As technically appointed partner for the event, Gravity Media’s role included technical co-ordination between Octagon CSI, its other facility suppliers and all the venues, as well as the provision and control of technical standards for the event.
In order to best manage all technical aspects of this project, Gravity Media identified the need to relocate key staff to South Africa during the event.
In 2003, Eamonn Dowdall – now Executive Director for Gravity Media Group - was Managing Director of Gearhouse Broadcast. Commenting upon the project’s successful conclusion, he noted Gearhouse Broadcast’s proven ability to manage logistically and technically complex projects, such as the ICC World Cup and Football World Cup. “We have proven we can manage an event of this size in terms of attention to detail, quantity and quality of equipment, logistical expertise and engineering support,” he said.
Then-Head of Production Development for Octagon CSI Tony Still added: “Gearhouse Broadcast brings a blend of skills to a job like this. We needed access to a large amount of the latest technology equipment, proven engineering expertise and a company with a proven track record and they delivered on all counts”.