Gather Round is an event where all AFL matches for Round 5 of the premiership season are played in the one city, attracting fans from all over Australia for the weekend. Matches were played at the Adelaide Oval, Norwood Oval and the newly developed Mount Barker Summit and Recreation Park in the Adelaide Hills. PRM was responsible for managing the spectrum for the matches and festivities in and around Adelaide Oval.
Events such as Gather Round are generally complex from an RF perspective. There are two broadcasters for the event, all with their own cameras and RF mics, along with on field live entertainment and precinct activations. Gather Round had all of this along with the Footy Festival in nearby Elder Park which had it’s own live entertainment featuring local artists and an additional two broadcast sites for national breakfast television programs. Additionally, consideration had to be given for the RF devices in use at the Adelaide Festival Theatre which was running the premier of a touring show during Gather Round.
Planning and preparation for the event commenced 2 months beforehand. Once the spectrum plan was published to major stakeholders, PRM patrols the ground assisting users to resolve issues and identifying rogue users who may cause interference.
Underpinning all of this is the software tool PRM uses called FreqCoord (www.freqcoord.com). Not only does FreqCoord perform frequency calculations, but it also manages stakeholder communications and all relevant information is available to users in real time. At the first bounce of Gather Round, nearly 500 frequencies were under management, so a robust management tool is necessary to effectively manage an event like this. One of the most valuable features at an event such as Gather Round is the time slots – frequencies can be issued for particular timeslots for those users that may only be present for one or two matches.