During the six-week sprint before the ABC / ESPN season restart, in partnership with the NBA and Turner, they tried to make what has long been considered the “Happiest Place on Earth” the safest.
By creating an NBA bubble in the Disney world in Orlando, the league and networks hope to protect players and staff from the coronavirus.
But they did more than that – they tried to turn the wide world of the ESPN sports complex into something state-of-the-art, hopefully a pandemic TV studio.
As ESPN approached its first broadcast on Friday night, it was trying to create a sense of great time without the fans present.
To do this, in just one and a half months, the network has installed an infrastructure exceeding 30 inside, inside and outside the three arenas where the courts are located.
ESPN will not disclose how much is being spent on the facility, but it has reported that the NBA is spending $ 150 million on the entire bubble.
“Speaking to others, this lineup is reminiscent of an Olympic-style lineup,” ESPN Vice President Mike Schiffman told The Post on FaceTime as he took a long tour of ESPN’s arena and broadcast.
ESPN, TNT and the NBA have been trying to come up with something to keep it going, as Schiffman, along with league officials and Turner, conducted a poll on the site six weeks ago.
Aesthetics include virtual fans and a home court for each team. There will be 20 cameras in nationwide programs, as opposed to 12 for memorable, pre-pandemic games.
ESPN will use more than 60 robotic cameras over the three vessels. The event employs about 200 ESPN staff, almost 20 of whom are on the air.
The hope is that it feels like a huge event.
“It’s a big part of it,” Schiffman said.
ESPN and Turner – which ended with the first regular game of the restart of the season – 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 imprint on them. The two networks provide a “global channel” for RSN, as YES, to broadcast their teams’ games.
Security is a bonus, and the NBA has created a two-tier bubble system.
The green zone is the residence of the players. There are some reporters in the green zone, such as ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
Upon arrival, these media members had to check the negative and quarantine for seven days before they could move to certain areas.
People from the yellow zone where Schiffman and the ABC / ESPN team, Mike Brin, Jeff Van Gundi and Mark Jackson, live are tested on arrival in Waldorf and must be quarantined for one day before being released from their room after a negative COVID test. 19, which has a quick turn. They have no personal interaction with the players.
They are tested twice a week and require wearing masks. There were no deviations from the rules.
Inside the main truck, the number of staff has halved from 10-12 to six. All are separated by a plexiglass separator.
“You feel safe,” Schiffman said.
In the arena, Brin, Van Gundi and Jackson will be in a perch equal to 12 rows. They will also have impregnating separators between each of them.
For gaming, the network tries to show some unique shots using a rail cam on the side of the field. There are also advanced lines for free throws, which are normally absent.
Since there are no fans in the arena, a shot on the rail can be used during a live action, not just during reruns. ESPN will also have behind-the-scenes cameras that allow viewers to peek in as players prepare.
About six weeks ago, when Disney was designated as the site for the NBA’s restart, Schiffman, along with NBA officials and Turner, traveled to Orlando to see how they could turn the tide and possibly think it over.
Turner was the first on Thursday night. Starting on Friday, ESPN will appear on the central stage. Then he will have 10 games in four days.
It was a sprint to turn free gyms and many into safer places, but one that ESPN hopes will still provide entertainment in the NBA at the highest level.