Visitors to the ESPN headquarters in Bristol always hope to see mascots and sports legends running around.
They are usually not disappointed (at least when it comes to the athletes–mascots are only here for special occasions).
In terms of the facilities and décor, we always try to be outstanding and appeal to visiting sports fans and also to those who work here, the “corporate athletes.”
With that spirit, we went about giving our conference rooms throughout the campus sport-specific themes.
In the last few years, we’ve tricked out the football conference room, the basketball conference room, the golf conference room, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup Conference room.
Rick Abbott, VP of Global Security and Facilities Operations emphasizes: “We want our meetings to have a fun backdrop that reflects who we are and what we’re about.”
In the case of the World Cup room, the goal is also educational. To help employees better understand the mind of the devoted soccer fan, we took quotes from passionate fans that express why they love European football.
We placed these quotes around the edge of the conference table, and in the middle of the table was a world map highlighting the countries that qualified for the World Cup.
The chairs around the table are upholstered with actual team jerseys.
We wanted to help employees choose which team they would root for, so we gave them a spin wheel that offers different ways to find your personal alliance — family heritage?
The first country you travelled to outside the US? There’s a slightly scaled down goal with Tim Howard blocking a shot, and the carpet bears field lines.
Attendees to a meeting held in this space can hold a replica of the World Cup and blow on a vuvuzuela (if they want to emphasize a point).
The football conference room tries to bring in a little history of American football by displaying helmets from the early years of the sport. The chairs are upholstered in referee unis, and the carpet is the color of Astro Turf.
The basketball conference room sports a real polished wood floor, but for the walls, we opted for art that reflects our basketball on-air graphic look.
Above the white boards, there is the famous quote from Jim Valvano, “Don’t Give Up. . .Don’t Ever Give Up! ®
In this room, found in Building 11, in addition to state of the art telecom capabilities, the person at the head of the conference table can take a foul shot.
The golf room features a golf cart coming out of the wall, after it has driven across the dew-covered green.
And the long wall features a beautiful panoramic shot of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. When users of this conference room take a coffee break, there’s a putting green and a sand trap so folks can work on their game.
All this is not to say that meetings at ESPN are fun and games.
It’s just that we like to enjoy occasional relief from the intensity of work, and when we look up from our notes and meeting agendas, we remember why we are all there in the first place.