Broadcast RF returned to Wembley Stadium this weekend for coverage of the 2014 FA Cup Final, where for the first time since 2010 the event had its own day in the football calendar and didn’t clash with any Premier League fixtures, as Arsenal faced Hull City live on both ITV and BT Sport 1.
To mark the occasion, Broadcast RF’s presence in and around the stadium was enormous, as a total of 8 x HD wireless radio camera systems were used for not only inside Wembley Stadium, but also in the surrounding public areas and along Wembley Way, as seas of red and amber flooded the home of English football for a day that was sure to go down in history.
For BT Sport, one HD system was supplied by Broadcast RF for a Sony P1 steadicam rig which was used to run the touchline for the duration of the match, whilst two HD Systems for handheld Sony HDC1500’s were provided for coverage inside and outside the stadium before, during and after the action. For ITV, two HD systems for handheld Sony HDC1500’s were supplied for pitchside coverage of the match.
Hull City became the 57th club to play in the FA Cup Final, for the first time since their establishment 110 years ago, whilst Arsenal headed into the fixture looking to end their trophy drought of nearly 9 years.
In addition to the above equipment, there were a further three ‘Fancam’ systems deployed inside the stadium, in front of the stadium, and around the stadium in public areas, which were used to interact with supporters of both teams ahead of the big game, with pictures being relayed live on the Wembley screens.
Arsenal headed into the fixture as strong favourites, after finishing 4th in the Barclays Premier League and securing European football for a 19th successive season, whilst Hull narrowly avoided relegation and finished in 16th place after losing well over half of their league games.
As well as the multiple systems at ground level, two HD helicopter downlink systems were operational in the skies above Wembley, one for BT Sport and one for ITV, offering shots from a bird’s eye view as 89,345 football fanatics filled the stadium.
Hull City stormed to an astonishing 2-0 lead within the opening 10 minutes, with goals from James Chester and Curtis Davies. Everything looked to be going wrong for Arsenal, but Santi Cazorla brought it back to 2-1 on 17 minutes with a free kick and that’s how the score stayed until half time. It wasn’t until 71 minutes until a fourth goal of the afternoon was scored, and it went the way of Arsenal, after Oliver Giroud netted to bring the score all even. The game went as far as extra time but penalties were avoided when Aaron Ramsey scored in extra time to give Arsenal the lead, which they held on to until the final whistle was blown.
Arsenal have now won the competition a total of 11 times, with 5 of those triumphs under the reign of Arsene Wenger, who is said to have signed a new contract to stay with the club for a further three years.
This event was much more than your average football match for Broadcast RF. Our project management teams were heavily involved in planning to ensure a smooth operation. We had crew on site for two days rigging and supervising the kit that was in use, and in terms of RF equipment supplied, the FA Cup Final 2014 can definitely be considered the biggest game of the year.