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‘Our producers have led the way in implementing new workflows and technologies in our storytelling’

Award-winning SC Featured returns for new season on SportsCenter this weekend

Coming off of a year in which it was honored with two Sports Emmy Awards and two Edward R. Murrow Journalism Awards, SC Featured, the award-winning storytelling brand of SportsCenter, returns for a new season on Sunday.

While viewers might see little difference, like many others within ESPN, the SC Featured team has adapted to the realities of the day, figuring out ways to produce compelling feature content while maintaining strict safety protocols.

“While we continue to be challenged by a global pandemic, our producers have led the way in implementing new workflows and technologies in our storytelling,” said José Morales, senior coordinating producer, ESPN Features, who oversees SC Featured.

“For instance, nearly all of our story interviews since March 2020 have been conducted without a reporter or producer on-site,” he said. “Instead, our team works with a local production crew, interviews the subject, and monitors the filming utilizing video conferencing technology. The same is true for the editing process.”

SC Featured stories air on SportsCenter during the months of the NFL offseason, and the new season opens with the intriguing story of some stolen Super Bowl rings. Several years ago, a disgruntled New England Patriots fan broke into a Massachusetts jeweler and stole the New York Giants’ Super Bowl XLII rings. The robbery was a success, but the thief couldn’t find any buyers to purchase the stolen rings and eventually landed in federal prison.

“Our reporter Sam Borden and our producer Zac Budman managed several elaborate shoots literally from coast to coast,” said Morales. “In Los Angeles, complicated re-enactment scenes were filmed with Zac producing each from his home in Connecticut while Sam interviewed key story subjects in and around the Boston area from his Connecticut home.

Jose Morales
(Melissa Rawlins/ESPN Images)

“Each piece is different, but these types of adjustments have allowed us to remain nimble while continuing to deliver the powerful stories that have come to define the Features Unit and the SC Featured brand.”

The story of the stolen rings debuts as an SC Featured story in the 8 a.m. ET hour of SportsCenter on Sunday, Feb. 14, and will re-air in other editions that day.

Since its creation 18 years ago, ESPN Features has received 108 Sports Emmy Award nominations resulting in 17 Emmys. SC Featured has received 40 Sports Emmy Award nominations and won five Emmys since it began in 2013. SC Featured also has won six Murrow Awards in the past five years.

In just seven years, stories with the SC Featured brand have won more than 80 industry awards.

“We are thrilled for the return of SC Featured and excited to share some incredible stories in 2021 with our fans,” Morales said.

Because of the pandemic, “In Los Angeles, complicated re-enactment scenes were filmed with Zac [Budman] producing each from his home in Connecticut while Sam [Borden] interviewed key story subjects in and around the Boston area from his Connecticut home,” senior coordinating producer José Morales said. (ESPN)
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