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Forward/Rewind: College Football/College Basketball

1Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 11.28.04 AMEditor’s Note: With this multi-week series — the Front Row Forward/Rewind, 2014/2013 — ESPN’s Communications Department takes the pulse of content executives throughout ESPN for their views on what’s ahead across ESPN for 2014 and some of what transpired in 2013. The snapshots provide a look at where ESPN has been, where it’s going and how it plans on getting there.



COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Ilan Ben-Hanan, Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions

Ilan Ben-Hanan
Ilan Ben-Hanan

What was the best example of your unit’s teamwork from 2013?
A tight choreography unfolds as games start to bump into each other every Saturday during the season. Working closely with ESPN Communications and our Social Media team, we shepherd games across networks as they begin and end, informing fans and conference partners in real time throughout.

What element from another ESPN production unit resonated with you most in 2013 and why?
The long-form storytelling pieces – Steve Gleason and Pearl Jam; the military reunion “Going Home” piece; the OTL “Carry On” piece. The games are always great, and I’m content to watch them all day, but impactful storytelling stays with you.

What was the “most social” moment of 2013?
Marshall Mathers visiting with Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit at ESPN’s Notre Dame at Michigan telecast. Using an Eminem song to accompany the Saturday Night Football open each week was already great, but having him visit with the guys took it to another level.

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Jay Levy, Senior Coordinating Producer

Jay Levy
Jay Levy

What was the best example of your unit’s teamwork from 2013?
The Kentucky–Baylor situation on Dec. 6 when we added Kentucky-Baylor women’s game to ESPN3 ahead of the already scheduled ESPN Kentucky-Baylor men’s games. Seemed innocent enough until the women’s game turned historic and went four OTs.

What element from another ESPN production unit resonated with you most in 2013 and why?
The thing that resonated the most with me in 2013 was the use of IMovix “Behind the Glass” cameras during the NBA playoffs on ESPN. Watching those games, I had an “ah-ha moment,” and realized there were college basketball games that would benefit from that coverage. We then added them to the Champions Classic doubleheader in Chicago and realized immediately the investment was well worth it watching Michigan State slam breakaway dunks after dunk in taking an early lead over Kentucky. It was then capped off with this memorable Jabari Parker move in Duke’s game versus Kansas.

What was the “most social” moment of 2013?
The 2013 Champions Classic, on Nov. 12, was not only the highest rated ESPN college basketball games this season but also were successes on Twitter. #KUvsDUKE and #MSUvsUK were the Nos. 2 and No. 3 most tweeted programs in all of television on that Tuesday. In total, 374,000 people tweeted 857,000 times about the two games. Only “The Voice” on NBC was tweeted about more often that evening.

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Click to enlarge Twitter Traffic graphic. (Courtesy of Logan Vild/ESPN Social Media)

Rachel Siegal contributed to this post

Forward/Rewind logo by Samantha Baron

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