Remember the Alamodome? ESPN Continues Tradition Of Producing Events At Special Locations In Texas-Sized Fashion
An NBA-record single-game crowd in excess of 63K is expected for the Warriors-Spurs game Friday; here's how ESPN will make millions watching the telecast feel like they're part of the Alamodome experience
ESPN’s long history of televising events in special locations continues this Friday as the San Antonio Spurs return to their former home, the Alamodome. The game against the defending champion Golden State Warriors (7:30 p.m. ET) is set to break the NBA regular-season attendance record.
ESPN’s production and operations teams mobilized to capture the story of the Texas-sized spectacle. The team expanded its on-site staff to focus on the added technical features for the production and even arrived a few days earlier than usual to prepare the infrastructure for the massive stadium.
The Spurs are celebrating their 50th anniversary as a pro basketball franchise this year. This game marks the team’s first date in the Alamodome since 2002; the Spurs call AT&T Center home.
Patty Mattero, Sr. Manager, Remote Operations, described the preparation for the event. Alan McDonald, Sr. Operations Specialist, also detailed the Alamodome project from San Antonio.
“It is an NBA game, but with all the added extras, it’s such a unique opportunity to really showcase the NBA game played in such a huge stadium,” said Mattero. “Just really try to capture all of that, the celebration of the Spurs’ 50th anniversary and the large crowd.”
“The game is our first priority, but in this unique opportunity, the size and scope are really important to be able to bring to the fans at home.”
The extras begin with a drone, which will be utilized outside near the arena to gather pretaped shots of the city and stadium. The drone will also capture live shots of the 63,592 fans expected to descend upon the Spurs’ former home.
SkyCam will offer further perspective of the enormity of the stadium while also zooming in on court and game action.
Plus, a shallow depth of field camera, which is usually used close to game action in a normal arena, will be adapted from its typical function. In this case, it will roam beyond the floor to capture the enormity of the environment, the essence, and the distance of the fans.
“The fans and the city embrace this team so much that they’re going to sell out,” said McDonald. “ESPN has accepted that this is an event even more so than just the game. That’s why we’ve added the SkyCam and the shallow depth of field camera.”
. . .. celebrating the Spurs’ anniversary, and showcasing the enormous stadium to make it feel like a big celebration, is the story behind this particular special game. – Patty Mattero, Sr. Manager, Remote Operations
Collaboration between the venue, the NBA, and ESPN results in access only ESPN can deliver for an event of this magnitude. Added interviews and behind-the-scenes access take weeks of communication and creativity, with ongoing conversations beginning in December to explore the possibilities. Rodney Vaughn will produce the game with Jeff Evers directing and Vice President Tim Corrigan overseeing the production.
“It’s a huge amount of collaboration and creativity that everyone is trying to build on to make sure that we can execute accordingly,” said Mattero. “The big story here, celebrating the Spurs’ anniversary, and showcasing the enormous stadium to make it feel like a big celebration, is the story behind this particular special game.”
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For more on ESPN’s NBA game schedule this week, visit ESPN PressRoom