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SBJ/November 21-27, 2011/Idea Innovators
Rick Cavallaro, Sportvision
Published November 21, 2011, Page 16
As chief scientist for Sportvision, Cavallaro was instrumental in developing many of the bells and whistles that make up today’s sports television. Cavallaro recalls being part of a brainstorming session in the late 1990s when Fox Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill proposed the yellow first-down line.
“It wasn’t an original suggestion,” Cavallaro said. “There was a patent for a similar system nearly 20 years earlier.”
Cavallaro, who holds 25 patents, spent years developing and refining the technology. It wasn’t until about a year after it launched that Cavallaro realized the yellow line was a ubiquitous part of game telecasts. That’s when he was watching a game in a smoky bar and saw the line. “I realized that I didn’t need to be in a production truck to make it work.”
If Cavallaro has one regret, it’s the glowing hockey puck that Fox used on its NHL telecasts in the 1990s. The sport’s biggest fans generally hated the technology.
“I hope to propose that again,” he said. “It was introduced in an over-the-top way to a customer base not used to having graphics in the game. The technology has improved, so we could do a better job.”