Faces of ESPN’s Digital Center 2: Part 3

SportsCenter - June 2, 2014

This coming Sunday, SportsCenter’s 11 p.m. ET edition will be the first to originate from ESPN’s brand new, 194,000-square-foot Digital Center 2. The building will be home to SportsCenter, all NFL studio shows and other, yet to be determined, programming.

This week, Front Row will introduce fans to a small sampling of the men and women who were behind the mammoth undertaking as they share what the new building will mean for them and for you.

Noubar Stone
Noubar Stone

Noubar Stone
Title: Sr. Creative Director
Years with ESPN: 27

Description of your role in DC-2/SC:
Managing the design, construction and installation of the set.

Tell us about the set design process.
The first step was getting our set design team at Jack Morton/PDG into the same room as SportsCenter’s management team to hear what their vision was for SportsCenter 2014 and beyond. They envisioned an immersive show, one where the highlights, graphics, statistics and announcers could be blended into a common environment instead of separate elements. The initial concepts were then modified over the course of a year to incorporate where the graphic design and animation was going, new technology possibilities and feedback from production and operations.

What is your favorite feature of the new SportsCenter studio?
I’m a big fan of the streamlined scenic design and multiplicity of technology that lets the anchors, graphics and highlights take center stage. It’s a challenge to be sure, but the possibilities it creates to document the stories and engage the fans are almost limitless.

What do you see as the biggest impact on viewers:
I think the show has been taking small steps with more anchor interaction with the screens we have in the current studio, but their size and technology is for the most part over 10 years old. When our crews step into the new studio in DC-2, it will be a giant leap.

By Dan Quinn

Jeff Schaetzel
Jeff Schaetzel (beginning his ascent up the 56 monitor, multi-dimensional wall)

Jeff Schaetzel
Title: Sr. Coordinating Director
Years with ESPN: 19

Description of your role in DC-2/SC:
Coaching the directors as they prepare; interacting with the other departments and coordinating all aspects of the project for Studio Directing.

Tell us about your role in creating the new SportsCenter studio:
A little bit of everything, starting with organizing and facilitating the “Visualization Sessions” that helped orient staff members to the wide variety of visual possibilities. Then assisting with the rehearsal planning, running the rehearsals and facilitating the rehearsal post meetings and contributing to the punch list process.

What is your favorite feature of DC-2/SC studio?:
I’d say the North Wall dimensional monitor array. It looks really cool, and has enormous visual potential that we are just beginning to tap into. Plus, I have to resist the temptation to climb it (see photo).

How will your job change because of new studio/building?
This project has gotten me out from behind my desk more and back into the studios and control rooms. I really enjoy the collaboration with all the people from the various departments involved.

What do you see as the biggest impact on viewers?
There is so much going on that I think the viewers will really want to pay attention. We will be creating a version of SportsCenter that is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before, so hopefully we will get their attention and keep it.

What is your favorite TISC ad?:
I’m old school so I still like “Follow Me to Freedom” with Charley Steiner.

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