ESPN executives and employees were joined by state and local legislators this morning for the ceremonial opening of the company’s Digital Center 2, a state-of-the-art media facility on the Bristol, Conn. campus. The ceremonial “fiber” cutting – a nod to the 6 million feet of fiber optic cable within the 194,000-square -foot building – included comments from ESPN President John Skipper, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Congressman John Larson (D-CT).
While the gathering was a showcase of one of the most technologically advanced media facilities in the world, it was also a demonstration of ESPN’s commitment to keep its talented employees in house. The event kicked off with the announcement of a long term extension for SportsCenter anchor Sara Walsh, who served as the emcee for the morning ceremony held in DC-2’s expansive lobby.
Governor Malloy, who took a moment to note he’d be a good candidate for a job at ESPN if his own contract isn’t renewed, said: “ESPN is a leading employer in our state, and the company’s willingness to continue to expand and hire here demonstrates that Connecticut really is a great place to grow and invest. ESPN’s new digital center will create hundreds of new jobs for residents and reinforces the company and our state’s well-earned reputation as a hub for sports digital media and broadcasting.”
The event included an opportunity for invited guests to be amongst the first people to explore the 10,000-square-foot SportsCenter studio that will be the new home of ESPN’s flagship program beginning next month. The unique environment of the studio features a video floor, virtual technology, a set that rises from the floor, 114 monitors including a 56 LED multi-dimensional monitor wall, 800 energy efficient lighting fixtures and an above-the-studio camera mounted on a circular track for more than 30 feet of distinctive shooting options.
DC-2 will also be home to all of ESPN’s NFL studio programming, beginning in late summer. ESPN’s Los Angeles production center is also undergoing a similar re-design of its SportsCenter studio that will launch simultaneously with the Bristol set.
EDITOR’S NOTE: In the video below, Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy and ESPN President John Skipper host a mock SportsCenter segment from ESPN’s new Digital Center 2 (DC-2).