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ESPN+ Makes ESPN’s Biggest Production Bigger

Exclusive coverage of US Open involves more than 3000 "workdays" from nearly 300 people, 135 cameras, more than 500 matches

NEW YORK — ESPN has a long history of setting high goals and achieving them, with a laundry list of productions that broke new ground or were unprecedented.

From presentation of the NCAA men’s basketball opening rounds to the NFL Draft to the America’s Cup to the X Games, World Cup and the college football MegaCast, ESPN has repeatedly done what no one else has or even thought about doing.

But one event can lay claim to being the biggest of all, and the US Open currently going on here has the stats to back up the heady claim.

“Since we took on exclusivity and with it responsibility for the host feed, the US Open is our biggest effort,” says Dennis Cleary, director, remote production operations. “When it’s all over, we will have presented more than 500 matches using 135 cameras, across men’s and women’s singles and doubles, mixed doubles and some juniors and wheelchair matches.”

This year, that effort is even more significant as all 16 courts have cameras (up from 12) for streaming on ESPN+.

“ESPN+ is off to a great start with thousands of live events including a variety of soccer including Ronaldo in Serie A, boxing, the start of college fall sports including football and, of course, the extensive coverage of Wimbledon and the US Open,” says Vice President, Digital Media Programming, John Lasker.

“ESPN+ is a great example of how we serve our most passionate fans.”

While the action on the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center courts takes place over two-plus weeks, the work involved spans a much longer time.

“Our first vendor was on site July 2, the last to leave will be Sept. 20, and our own people will end up here almost as long,” Cleary explains. “In between, the job will total more than 3,000 ‘workdays’ from nearly 300 people.’”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The ESPN tennis team at the US Open doesn’t work quite this fast, but with all that is required to present ESPN’s biggest production the level of work is both tremendous in volume and in level of expertise and technical advancement. The time-lapse video above is courtesy of ESPN Production. Sports Video Group also looked at ESPN production’s teamwork on the US Open.