CBS Sports HQ: The Newest OTT Channel in Sports

Mar 20, 2018

CBS launched their latest OTT channel called Read More Add A Comment

CBS launched their latest OTT channel called CBS Sports HQ this February as a cooperative venture between CBS Sports and CBS Interactive. This most recent entry into the sports information video service business has a somewhat unique element to it. It’s free. While available through the CBS Sports App on Roku, Apple TV, Amazonfire and Chromecast, it’s also available on and the CBS Sports Mobile app, making the content accessible from virtually any device at any time.

With the success of their CBSN product, first launched in 2014, adding a companion sports service was a natural progression for the company. “CBS Sports HQ is another key step in the evolution of the CBS Corporation,” said Leslie Mooves, Chairmen and CEO of CBS. The timing for the launch could not be better for this new OTT service. With the Men’s NCAA basketball tournament and Masters golf on the CBS’s March and April calendar, this new network will have tremendous access to two of the premier sporting events of the year.

Like CBSN, CBS Sports HQ will not only provide a live sports information service, but also provide, within the same screen, DVR capability for the viewer to scroll through previous segments to pick out information of interest. Combining these two functions allows viewers to surf in and out of the service not having to worry about when they will see a segment of interest. This is a key component to the success of both CBSN and CBS Sports HQ.

Build from scratch, or not?

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With the goal to replicate the functionality of CBSN, the CBS Interactive team needed to decide whether to build a separate, side-by-side, video production workflow from their already established production chain or combine the needs of the new network within the existing workflow, which provides video content for their websites of CBS, Sportsline, 247 Sports, Max Preps and CBS Sports Fantasy.

Decisions like these are driven by headcount, technology and overall budgetary impact. CBS Interactive chose to combine existing technology, personnel and facilities with incremental adds in newsroom, control room and master control technology to create a workflow that would support current needs and scale to support future growth.

What to do and in what order.

As lead for the consulting team brought in to assist them through technology and workflow challenges, it was important for us to capture existing capabilities, so as to not duplicate resources that would continue to be utilized in our vendor RFP’s. Also, keeping the business functioning during the renovation process was a required part of the project that had to be accounted for by vendors and integrators alike.

Once a workflow was determined the next step was to work with an integrator to create an RFP for vendors to bid against. There were varied solutions to choose from by several vendors. All quality products which were readily available in the marketplace. The decision came down to which products and vendors would best integrate with the existing facilities and proprietary applications used by the CBS Interactive team. The next step was to finalize timelines and budgets for both vendors and in-house teams. As equipment agreements were made, it was also important to account for any post-installation and commissioning support desired (Service Licensing Agreements).

Construction to completion

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Pre-installation work was done to remove existing equipment which would no longer be needed in order to make space for the new technology. Equipment installations, vendor commissioning, staff training, and rehearsals were all part of the developed schedule and shared with the project team. Like most projects, but especially one where you’re integrating into existing equipment, adjustments needed to be made. From a budgeting and scheduling standpoint, it is essential to build-in contingencies for additional time and dollars to support the project’s original scope. Any change in scope needs to be thoroughly vetted for budgetary and timeline impact. I haven’t heard anyone ever complain about a project coming in ahead of schedule and under-budget. With a reasonable contingency appropriation, the likelihood is one will come in on-time and on-budget more often than not.

As with any project, having the in-house team participate and take ownership is key to making the project not only a success at launch, but have continued success weeks, months and years after when everyone else has moved on to the next big thing.

Making sure you plan in a specific order, which best supports the needs of your project, will help insure a positive outcome. This buildout, as any buildout, had its challenges, but in the end a quality product was created that will make CBS Sports HQ a destination for sports fans.

No Comments
  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd: I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working! Thanks again for the work earlier this month. Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month.

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • K. Lona Lymen Reply
    2014-01-31 17:54:25

    You are spot-on that voters don't believe that Obama can accomplish any of his plans. I vote in every election, but I am disgusted with all the arguing and last minute actions that band-aid a problem for a few months, and then break out into new arguments. The comparison to the Superbowl was interesting because, like politics it is a great American sport. But, instead of Peyton Manning giving a State-of-the Union, the President's address should get better commercials!

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!