HOYLAKE, ENGLAND – The Open Championship, golf’s oldest major, is the only golf event that ESPN airs all four days of and produces its own telecasts.
And once a year, ESPN Vice President, Event Production and SportsCenter, Mike McQuade assembles a team of people from all around the company to make it happen.
ESPN’s team will produce some 65 hours of television from the event Thursday through Sunday at Royal Liverpool. There also will be SportsCenter reports, second-screen digital offerings, ESPN Radio broadcasts and more.
And for all of that, ESPN will have more than 150 people on-site at Royal Liverpool, many of whom only come together at The Open.
“Some of us might not see each other or work together again for another 360 days,” said McQuade, who even with his recent SportsCenter designation will continue to oversee golf coverage.
The team includes people who work on other sports and other productions the rest of the year, such as Greg Jewell, producer for SportsCenter coverage from Hoylake, whose main ESPN job is coordinating producer for Sunday NFL Countdown. Tom Lucas, ISO director at Hoylake, is lead director for College GameDay. Andrea Cuaron, media manager on the edit team, spends the rest of the year as a Longhorn Network production coordinator.
And production coordinators Molly Fallica, who works on golf and college football, and Katie Gorman, who works on Monday Night Football and NBA, keep the schedules straight and get everyone where they need to be.
“From a production standpoint, we have an all-star team put together for one week,” McQuade said.
The announcers and analysts who call the event also only work together a few times a year.
“I walk away each year amazed at how smoothly our group comes back together,” said Mike Tirico, who will anchor ESPN’s coverage for the 18th year. “It works because of the incredible groundwork of our management team led by Mike McQuade.
“We have a great team of accomplished champions who are unselfish, talented and completely committed to the team’s success. We may not do 20 events a year together, but the band comes back together every year and it is as if we were all together just a week ago. It’s an honor to be a small part of this group.”
For McQuade, the end product is his main focus and the teamwork pays off.
“I give a lot of credit to Mike Tirico and [host] Scott Van Pelt for pulling everyone on the team together,” McQuade said. “I’m biased, but I think it’s as good a listen as you’ll hear anywhere.”