ESPN expands NCAA College Baseball Championships coverage to all 16 regional sites, launches Bases Loaded platform
ESPN continues to expand on its commitment to college baseball, increasing its regular-season schedule to a record 272 games and covering all 16 Regionals sites of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship for the first time this spring. The potential 112 first-round matchups from May 31 to June 3 is an increase over the six sites in 2012, four in 2011 and two the previous six years ESPN offered.
ESPN also will launch the Bases Loaded platform — similar to ESPN Goal Line and Buzzer Beater for college football and basketball — to provide unlimited live cut-ins and highlights from numerous games and up-to-the-minute commentary from ESPN experts over the four days (Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, from 2 p.m. ET to midnight; Sunday, June 2, from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and Monday, June 3, from 6 p.m. to midnight).
Front Row spoke with Brent Colborne, Director of Programming and Acquisitions, and Mike Moore, Senior Coordinating Producer, about covering every site, the logistics of scheduling the games and production crews for each, and more.
What made you consider expanding the coverage to include all 16 sites?
BC: Not only am I a huge college baseball fan, but it was the first property I worked on as an intern at ESPN. I always envisioned a day where every game of the NCAA Baseball Championship was covered on ESPN. With the significant growth in our regular season baseball coverage, expanding to hit all 16 sites was the most natural progression to that storyline.
How were you able to schedule coverage for all 16 sites and was Bases Loaded part of the plan from the beginning?
BC: We had fantastic cooperation and flexibility with the NCAA, which ultimately allows ESPN to distribute all of these games. Bases Loaded will be a great resource. I was working on the Digital Media programming team last year when I saw an email from Mike Moore after the NCAA Baseball Regionals, saying how cool it would be to have a whip-around show for baseball next year. I never forgot that email, and when I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to take my current role in programming, I did whatever I could to make sure that great idea came to life.
What will be the most challenging aspect for production?
MM: We actually won’t know any of the hosting regional sites until five days prior to the first game, which is a challenge in itself. The logistics — finding quality people, trucks, announcers, etc. — is the toughest part. From there, developing a coverage philosophy for something that hasn’t been done to this level on baseball before will be a challenge. But “inventing” new coverage or a new idea is one of the most fun parts of the job.
Approximately how many people will you have to find for the 16 sites?
MM: The total crew will be about 750 people.
For more about ESPN’s NCAA Baseball Championships plans, read this story from Monday’s USA Today.