New York Jets’ Media Team Tells the Story of a Season of Firsts From New In-House Studio
Live programming, an elite docu-series, and new podcast with Jets legends anchor an exciting year for JETS 360
With only three weeks remaining in the NFL campaign, a season full of new for the New York Jets nears its conclusion.
A new head coach (Robert Salah). A new QB1 (Zach Wilson). A newfound hope for a brighter future for fans of the Green and White.
Rebooting the team is not a new storyline for the Jets’ in-house media team, JETS 360, but it’s one they have handled masterfully in 2021, churning out an incredible list of content for fans and partners that take them inside the action with the new cast of stars at One Jets Drive.
“The organization from ownership on down has been all-in on content ideas that we’ve had,” says Chris Gargano, vice president and executive producer for the New York Jets. “Whether its interviews, or an in-depth docu-series, or for social walking out onto the practice field, photoshoots, they are a really engaged group and they totally get, respect and support what we’re trying to do as a content department.”
In the season full of new, the growing team behind JETS 360 are also enjoying some new perks of their own. A new studio at the team’s Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey and a fresh arsenal of cameras are opening up creative outlets for more original storytelling.
The 1,000 square-foot studio is the current star, serving as the home for many of the team’s marquee content series: particularly when it comes to their live offering. Officially named the BetMGM Studio, an official sports betting and gaming partner of the Jets – the space opened in August 2020 prior to the start of last season with the help of integration partner, Diversified, and has since received an upgrade to some key pieces of gear in year two, including a new collection of Canon C300 Mark III cameras. The package from Canon expands upon the team’s existing relationship that includes cameras for ENG as well as working with Canon Professional services.
“We couldn’t be happier with them,” says Gargano of the new Canon cameras. “They have fit so well with the entirety of our technological upgrade and the creation of this studio. We consulted with them and they recommended this setup for us. They listened to our needs.”
The studio space was designed by Jack Morton Worldwide and features multiple shooting locations and LED screens. It’s also backdropped by glass windows that offer open views to the Jets primary outdoor practice fields.
Gargano and his team had a previous studio that they worked from. That space has since been converted into a two-row control room designed to support the new BetMGM Studio. That control room is built around a Ross Carbonite production switcher, as well as a Ross Xpression graphics engine, the RTS ODIN digital intercom system, and the ETC Ion lighting console to control all of the studios LED customization packages. Behind the scenes with the studio is: Senior Manager, Studio Production Matt Sitkoff, Senior Manager, Digital Media Operations Tony Mancuso, Producer/Videographer Frank Lazar, Post-Production Engineer Austin Pikulski, Graphic Designer Tim Morgan, Studio Production Assistant Katie Weirdo, and Media Archivist Jack Mummert.
“We see this studio as something that we cannot believe we did not have in the past,” says Gargano. “The versatility of the space has exceeded my expectations.”
While flashy, the Bet MGM Studio is far from the only resource at the disposal of the Jets 360 team. The facility also houses 10 editing suites, in addition to 10 which are remote, all are tied to a centralized media asset management (MAM) system. Gargano also notes that the crew has also sharpened their work-from-home skills in light of everything that needed to get done over the past 20+ months of the pandemic.
“Through the pandemic, we have been adaptable as a content unit and we’ve taken that ability to think in an innovative way into 2021 with how we’re accessing and producing content,” says Gargano. “I could not be prouder of this group. It’s just a fantastic group that is very, very passionate and committed to what we’re doing.”
That passion fuels an incredibly robust catalog of content produced by Jets 360 throughout the NFL season. The group is headed up by SVP, Communications and Content Eric Gelfand, Gargano and VP, Content Strategy and Marketing, Jessica Ciccone, the Jets content team delivers fans unparalleled, timely access through live programming, in-depth feature content, and wall-to-wall team coverage distributed across digital, social, broadcast and other content platforms.
A typical week includes everything from the team’s highly-polished docu-series One Jets Drive presented by JetBlue, on-the-field-focused programming like press conferences and a weekly coach’s show entitled Jets Gameday with Coach Saleh presented by FanDuel, live programming distributed across the team’s social channels such as Practice Today presented by Sirius XM (hosted each Thursday), The Numbers Game, The Official Jets Podcast, The Game Preview Podcast – all presented by Wynnbet, Inside the Jets presented by EY and pre-game and post-game shoulder programming on gamedays including Jets Pre-game Central, presented by Uber Eats and Jets Overtime, presented by Nissan.
Programs like One Jets Drive and other embed-style content is executed by the team of Senior Manager, Features Producer/Editor Seth Bradley, Senior Manager, Lead Photographer/Cinematographer Dan Szpakowski, Feature Editor/Producer Matthew Lombardi, and producer/editor Danny Luksa.
The content team also features talented producers, writers and editors: Dan Nastro, Paul Salazar, Bobby Dougherty, Danielle Williams, Micaela Donnelly, as well Senior Writer Randy Lange and Writer/Copy Editor Jack Bell.
Live and daily content/programming is anchored by Senior Director, News Strategy and Reporter Eric Allen, as well as Senior Coordinating Producer Chris Ubbens, Production Assistant Brittany Ehrlich, Team Reporter/Producer Ethan Greenberg and Team Reporter Caroline Hendershot.
The department also produces its own series of podcasts, including the newest show in the lineup starring a pair of former Jets: The Exchange with Nick Mangold and Mark Sanchez.
“They’re two great Jets legends and their personalities complement each other so well,” says Gargano of the six-part series that has published two episodes thus far. “They’re committed to this. We’ve gotten some great guests and we’re getting even more. The stories that they tell us off camera or off mic, I can’t wait for everyone to hear/watch because they have a lot to say.”
The social media team of Social Media Manager Perry Mattern, Social Media Assistant Kylie Sturgill, Assistant, Digital and Social Media Melissa Pravata and Social Media Producer/Editor Jack Radutzky are constantly hustling, as well, keeping the main social accounts across TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram humming with up-to-the-second information and thumb-stopping imagery from the likes of Szpakowski and Team Photographer Sarah Snyder.
It’s comprehensive work from a staff loaded with talent. A group that Gargano couldn’t be more excited to offer such exciting new resources to in their little green corner of Northern New Jersey.
“When you have a situation where your expectations are exceeded, and then you put unbelievably creative, innovative and forward-thinking people into the spaces, I walk around with a smile on my face every day,” says Gargano. “I’m just pleased as can be. That doesn’t mean we don’t have room for growth, but I am seriously grateful about everything we have here.”