During the six-week sprint season again, ABC / ESPN, in partnership with the NBA and Turner, tried to make what has long been called the “Happiest Place on Earth” the safest.
By creating an NBA bubble at Disney World in Orlando, the league and networks hope to protect players and staff from the coronavirus.
But they did more than they did – they tried to turn ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex into a modern, expected pandemic-proof TV studio.
As her first broadcast on ESPN on Friday night approached, she tried to create a sense of big time without the presence of fans.
To achieve this goal, the network has created 30 and more infrastructures in just three and a half months in three arenas where courts are located and externally.
ESPN will not disclose how much it spent on the building, but it said the NBA was spending $ 150 million on the entire “bubble.”
“Speaking of others, this compound is reminiscent of an Olympic-type compound,” ESPN vice president of production Mike Shiffman told The Post on FaceTime as he broadcast an hour-long arena tour and ESPN.
ESPN, TNT and the NBA tried their best to think it out, as Shiffman, along with league and Turner officials, conducted an area survey six weeks ago.
Aesthetics include virtual fans and the coziness of each team’s home. The national shows will feature 20 camcorders instead of 12 for bubble-free games before the pandemic.
ESPN will use more than 60 robotic cameras in all three courts. The event employs about 200 ESPN employees, nearly 20 of them on air.
This is expected to feel like a huge event.
“It’s a big part of it,” Shiffman said.
ESPN and Turner – who interrupted Thursday’s first regular season game again – are responsible not only for their broadcasts, but also for 22 regional sports networks, so any basketball you watch in the coming months will have its own impression. The two networks provide a “global channel” RSN, such as YES, to broadcast their team’s games.
Security is top notch, and the NBA has introduced a two-tier “bubble” system.
The green area is where the players live. There are several journalists in the Green Zone, such as ESPN spokeswoman Malika Andrews.
Upon arrival, these media representatives had to test the negative and quarantine for seven days in order to move around the designated areas.
Checks in the Yellow Zone, home to Shiffman’s and ABC / ESPN’s best team of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson’s broadcasts, on arrival in Waldorf Space and are quarantined one day before being released from their rooms if a negative COVID-19 test that changes rapidly. They have no personal interaction with the players.
They are checked twice a week and must wear masks. There was no effort against the rules.
In its main truck, the number of staff has been halved: from 10-12 to 6. All are separated by a plexiglass divider.
“You feel safe,” Shiffman said.
In the arena, Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson will be perch equivalent to 12 rows up. They will also have transparent distinguishing elements between each of them.
For games, the nets will try to show some unique shots using a rail cam on the side of the pitch. There are also free-line advanced cameras that are not usually available.
Since there are no fans in the arena, the rail stroke can be used during a direct action rather than just a replay. ESPN will also have behind-the-scenes cameras that will allow the audience to interact as players prepare.
About six weeks ago, when Disney was assigned an NBA reshuffle venue, Shiffman, along with NBA and Turner officials, traveled to Orlando to see how they could restructure the court and perhaps they managed to think everything through.
Turner got up for the first time on Thursday night. Starting Friday, ESPN will be on the center stage. It will then feature 10 games over four days.
It was a sprint to turn free sports fields and pitches into safe places, but one that ESPN hopes will still provide NBA entertainment at the highest level.