LOS ANGELES — The NBA is back on Christmas Day, ESPN and ABC’s NBA pregame show is moving to the West Coast, and our Los Angeles Production Facility (LAPC) is ready, willing and more than able to help.
Kia NBA Countdown, the pregame show airing on both ESPN and ABC, will originate from ESPN’s LAPC at L.A. Live.
Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson will join Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard throughout the entire season.
Front Row sat down with Judi Cordray, vice president and general manager in charge of ESPN’s LAPC, for a quick chat about the show’s arrival as well as other happenings at the facility.
Front Row: How long has the team at the Los Angeles Production Center (LAPC) been preparing for the arrival of Kia NBA Countdown?
Judi Cordray: We have been discussing the possibility of doing the show from Los Angeles for several months now. Once the decision was made, it was a matter of set design, staffing, and of course, the big question of whether we’d even have an NBA season this year.
FR: Will the studio space be devoted exclusively to Kia NBA Countdown?
JC: The studio space will be shared with our other regular productions. Our two daily anchor productions are SportsCenter and Nación ESPN.
FR: In addition to Kia NBA Countdown, what other shows, productions and content are produced out of the LAPC these days?
JC: Well, since we officially opened the facility in early April 2009, we’ve been responsible for helping produce a significant amount of programming and content spanning across our linear, radio and digital platforms, including: SportsCenter (1 a.m. ET), Nación ESPN on Deportes and Dos Network, Audibles, The Next Round, Grantland Podcast, Winners Bracket as part of ESPN Sports Saturday on ABC, Lakers: The Triangle Forum for ESPNLA.com, a number or promotional shoots for various shows — most recently college football and The Muppets movie promo — and bureau cam shoots for Around The Horn, PTI, Press Pass, Deportes’ Cronometro, Juego Cruzado, Golpe a Golpe, Jore Ramos Y su Banda and many others.
FR: What do you envision as some of the benefits of producing Kia NBA Countdown from Los Angeles?
JC: The LAPC is located at L.A. Live in the heart of downtown Los Angeles and directly across from the STAPLES Center — home of the Lakers and Clippers. There is a lot of energy and action in the plaza, particularly when there are home games at the STAPLES Center. Overall, it’s a great atmosphere to be part of and often times that energy really translates to our viewers in the telecasts. From a logistical standpoint, being in downtown LA and right across from the arena offers great access to players, other athletes, personalities and fans.
FR: What will be the impact on the West Coast staff and team?
JC: Everyone at the LAPC is excited to have an NBA show. There will be more opportunities for our existing LAPC team and we’ll also see some incremental growth to our operations staff. We will carefully manage the added production responsibilities with flexible and creative scheduling as well as look to Bristol for support when needed.
FR: What does this mean in terms of ESPN’s commitment to the Los Angeles Production facility?
JC: There was never any question in regards to ESPN’s commitment to the LAPC. Having a strategy and incorporating the right shows to the LAPC has always been a priority. The reality is our space is limited and it was more a matter of introducing the appropriate and most well-suited shows to the LAPC, and there’s no better example of this than Kia NBA Countdown.
FR: Are there any other things we should know about the LAPC and the arrival of Kia NBA Countdown?
JC: Being in LA and nearly 3,000 miles from our Bristol headquarters, some people may not be aware we’ve been open for more than 2 1/2 years now and we produce and support multiple shows from the LAPC. Kia NBA Countdown is a valued product of ESPN and the move to LA further validates that the LAPC is relevant and will play a key role for ESPN. With this show as well as others, the LAPC and its team is proud to continue carrying out ESPN’s mission to serve sports fans, anytime, anywhere.
SportsCenter recently televised a five-part series which offered a glimpse of the new Kia NBA Countdown.: