Industry Execs Weigh in on Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic on Sports-Production Landscape

Facilities and services suppliers are resolved to weather the adversity in the name of health and safety

When it comes to a day with dramatic developments in the world of sports, March 12, 2020, will most likely stand alone. A large number of professional and amateur sports associations and leagues have postponed upcoming events in the wake of developments around the coronavirus. And, for those involved in supplying the crews and technical facilities, that is just fine, even with the negative (and hopefully short-term) financial impact.

The sprawling primary NBA All-Star compound outside the United Center in Chicago

“At the core, the decisions to postpone or cancel are being done for the right reasons,” says Mike Werteen, global president, NEP Broadcast Services. “Protecting the population base and the people that work in this industry is a good reason to cancel them.”

Werteen and NEP have felt the impact of the coronavirus for weeks, first in Asia, then Europe, and now the U.S.

“Different geographical regions are at different stages,” he says. “When you look at the decrease of cases in Asia, that is a good sign. And, in every one of the geographies we are in, we want to make sure we are consistent with our NEP employees in terms of dialogue and communication.”

Game Creek Video President Pat Sullivan and Mobile TV Group President Phil Garvin echoed Werteen’s concern for employees, freelancers, and even those beyond the small world of sports production.

“As the situation develops,” says Garvin, “Mobile TV Group is working to ensure the safety of its employees, partners, and clients and to be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.”

Bob Carzoli, president/CEO, Program Productions, the world’s leading crewing company, notes that the immediate term may be hard for a lot of people and companies in the industry financially.

“But the most important thing in the immediate term is the health, safety, and well-being of the people who work for us,” he adds. “We had a crew doing the visiting show for the Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City, and our concern had less to do with the game being played and more to do with making sure the production team in the truck was okay.”

Carzoli adds that the only thing required right now is patience, because the leagues really didn’t have a viable option given the current situation.

“Our hope is that, where normally the last half of June and July are quiet, they will be busy,” he says. “The people that work for us will be more than happy to work a hockey game in July or an NBA game in August. Hopefully, we will look back on this in six months and see it as a difficult time that was also a good learning experience.”

Stay tuned to for further coverage of this rapidly evolving situation in the coming days.

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