Ross Greenburg, Jim Steeg To Headline SVG’s Sports Entertainment Summit in L.A.
Whether a fan is at the game or on the couch, the sports-production industry has never been more entertainment-minded than it is today. Sports networks and sports departments annually produce thousands of hours of documentary, reality, and studio-based programming on top of the live game coverage that has long been the staple of their sports lineup. Meanwhile, stadiums and arenas across the country are creating day- and even week-long events around the game itself, incorporating live concerts, halftime shows, hospitality parties, and more.
At the Sports Entertainment Production Summit on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles, SVG and Variety will bring together leaders from this rapidly growing market to discuss the latest developments and share lessons learned. Panel sessions will address reality sports programming, pre- and post-production workflows, remote studio shows, mobile-production trucks for sports and entertainment, and on-site events like pregame shows, halftime shows, and opening/closing ceremonies.
The Summit will be highlighted by keynote speeches by two industry legends, who have played integral roles in the convergence of sports and entertainment over the past three decades: Ross Greenburg, former HBO Sports president, and Jim Steeg, the father of the modern-day Super Bowl. In addition, attendees will receive an inside look at the production of MLB Productions’ The Franchise on Showtime from Executive Producer David Check.
Ross Greenburg – Master Storyteller, Legendary Sports Executive
“There are a lot of hours to fill on sports television these days — not to mention [digital platforms] — and you can’t just rely on game-only coverage,” says Greenburg, who recently founded Ross Greenburg Productions after 33 years at HBO Sports. “Unique storytelling in the form of long-form documentary programming or reality programming is a necessary ingredient for sports networks and sports divisions to survive.”
As one of the most innovative producers in television history, the 51-time Sports Emmy Award winner drove HBO Sports to new heights, shepherding a groundbreaking line of HBO documentaries and introducing revolutionary studio programming like Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel and On the Record With Bob Costas. Greenburg Productions now produces documentaries and studio programming for NBC Sports Group and the NHL.
During his afternoon keynote speech at the Sports Entertainment Production Summit, Greenburg will offer his vision of the future of sports programming, as well as provide an inside look at his vast portfolio of work.
Jim Steeg – Father of the Modern-Day Super Bowl
Without the presence of Steeg, the Super Bowl would be just another championship game on the sports calendar. In his 26 seasons in charge of the NFL’s Special Events Department, he helped grow the Super Bowl into a lucrative week-long extravaganza that emphasized the local game-site community. Steeg, who is now director of the Pac-12 Championship Game, is considered to be the individual most responsible for growing the Super Bowl into the world’s greatest one-day sports event.
“Today there are more opportunities to do something very different and groundbreaking than I can ever remember in the past. It’s amazing how much things have grown over the past 20 years in terms of [distribution] and how many outlets are out there now: broadcast, cable, streaming. That has opened up so many windows to create new types of sports [content]. It’s pretty staggering when you think about it.”
In his opening keynote address at the Summit, Steeg will discuss the state of sports entertainment and provide an in-depth look at the Super Bowl XXXVI festivities, which occurred less than five months after 9/11. The game, which was delayed a week to accommodate the games postponed after the attacks, featured a moving U2-driven halftime show that included a scrolling list of the 9/11 victims and is widely considered to be among the best of all-time.
MLB Productions’ Check will close out the day’s festivities with a behind-the-scenes look at the production of The Franchise: A Season With the San Francisco Giants, which aired on Showtime last year. The program followed the 2010 World Series champion Giants throughout the 2011 season, providing a rare inside view into an MLB clubhouse. The Franchise will return for the 2012 season, although the team that will be covered has not yet been selected.
In addition to Greenburg, Steeg, and Check, taking the stage will be speakers from a wide range of industry-leading companies and networks: Bunim/Murray Productions, CAMERON/PACE Group, Dome Productions, ESPN, Fox Sports Media Group, Lyon Video, Mandt Brothers Productions, Mess Media, MPE, MTV Networks, NBA Digital, NEP Denali, NFL Network, 10 Fold Productions, and Trio Video.
The Sports Entertainment Production Summit is being made possible by the following: Gold Sponsor Bexel, Silver Sponsor Thought Equity Motion, and Event Sponsors Fox Media Group, Grass Valley, NewTek, and Txtstation.