2017-18 College Basketball Preview: ESPN Opens Big With Armed Forces Classic in Germany
With more than 3,500 games, ESPN will deploy mobile units, at-home workflows, school-based production teams
ESPN will broadcast more than 3,500 college basketball games across its portfolio of networks, including ESPN, EPSN2, ESPNU, ESPNNEWS, SEC Network, SEC Network+, Longhorn Network, ESPN3, ACC Network Extra, and ESPN College Extra.
Given the massive number of games, ESPN doesn’t use a specific lineup of trucks but rather remains open to any relationships that will help cover the shows. Last season, more than 100 remote-production vehicles from 12 vendors worked ESPN college-hoops productions onsite.
According to Larry Wilson, associate director, remote production operations, ESPN, the ESPN family will also produce approximately 250 at-home productions this season. That’s quite a step up from the 93 produced in the 2015-16 season. The control rooms for those at-home productions are in Bristol, CT, and Charlotte, NC, and at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando.
In perhaps ESPN’s highlight of this weekend, crews are at Ramstein Air Force Base in Berlin for Friday’s annual Armed Forces Classic, which this year pits Texas A&M against West Virginia. ESPN has called on NEP’s European colleagues to bring in NEP Equinox to anchor the special production.
The network will also go all-in on the high-profile State Farm Champions Classic slated for Tuesday night at Chicago’s United Center. There, Lyon Video’s MU6 will cover a juicy doubleheader of Duke vs. Michigan State and Kentucky vs. Kansas.
Other marquee early-season events for ESPN include the Maui Jim Maui Invitational (NEP SS14, a truck regularly based in Hawaii), the Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (which this year will actually be produced using a VER flypack), and the special PK80 Invitational presented by State Farm (NEP SS18 and NCPX) that will celebrate the 80th birthday of Nike founder Phil Knight.