ESPN Adapts Production Plans to New ACC Championship Home
The ACC Football Championship Game has a new home, and a whole new production plan to go with it. In September, the ACC announced that it would move the game out of Charlotte, NC, where the conference was under contract to play through 2019, in opposition to the state’s controversial House Bill 2. As a result, ESPN has been working with the ACC to move the Championship Game, scheduled for this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, to Orlando.
“We’ve done the ACC Championship for many years in a row, and it’s a little bit different with the move to Orlando. So, instead of just changing the dates on all our paperwork for Charlotte, [we’ve] kind of had to start from scratch with Orlando,” says Derek Mobley, who will direct Saturday’s game. “We’ve been working on it for about a month, prepping and getting some of the camera positions [in place] and questions answered with the ACC. They’ve been doing the same sort of thing, because they’ve been in Charlotte for a long time.”
The game between No. 4 Clemson and Virginia Tech will be played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, currently home to Orlando FC and the annual Citrus Bowl. With playoff hopes for Clemson on the line, ESPN plans to play up the significance of a Tiger victory without losing sight of the season the Hokies have had and the road they’ve taken to the championship.
“It’s exciting to have a team that, if they win, will go to the College Football Playoff, and so you gotta keep that in mind and definitely have a focus on them, but you can’t lose sight of the fact that Virginia Tech had a good season,” says Mobley. “If they win, they’ll be the ACC Champions, so we can’t make it by any means one-sided toward Clemson.”
ESPN plans to deploy more than 20 cameras to capture Saturday’s game, including four Sony HDC-4300’s running in 6X super slow motion, Skycam, an aerial camera, robotic cameras in the goalposts, and a handful of hard and RF handheld cameras. In addition, ESPN will deploy eight pylon cams on the goal lines and back corners of each end zone.
“[Pylon cam] is something we do only for really big games,” says Mobley. “We’re kind of throwing the whole kitchen sink at this game. We’re putting all of our resources into it; if you add those up, we’ll have over 50 cameras there for the game.”
Game Creek Spirit, fresh off of covering last weekend’s Ohio State victory over Michigan, will cover this Saturday’s clash between Atlantic Division champion Clemson and Coastal Division champion Virginia Tech. More than 150 ESPN staffers will be onsite at Camping World Stadium.
In addition to exploring Clemson’s potential for a playoff berth, ESPN will keep an eye on the other championship games this weekend. Throughout the weekend, seven conference champions — including the ACC — will be crowned, leading up to the College Football Playoff final rankings on Sunday.
“Like we do every week, we’ll look at the bigger picture of the playoff and the teams that could make it,” says Mobley. “By the time our game goes on the air, we will know the Washington-Colorado score, we’ll know the [results of the] SEC Championship Game, and we’ll keep an eye on the Big Ten Championship as well through our studios. We’ll add context, the bigger picture of the playoff.”