The past few weeks have been exciting and fast-paced at 3 Point Productions. We thrive on the variety throughout the field of sports entertainment and recently produced events that included the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, USA Rugby, America’s top high school track athletes for Brooks Running, Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson, NASCAR’s Kasey Kahne, and a host of celebrities at the BET Experience at L.A. LIVE.
While each of these events was unique in its own way, there are many similarities when it comes to producing across various sports. The first is timing and structure. No matter the sport, there is always an open, middle and an end. Gates will open roughly an hour before the event begins, so programming a pregame sequence is similar whether it’s a basketball game or a rugby match. From promotional messaging for sponsors to introductions and national anthems, the tone is set in the first hour. Once the event begins, each sport has a unique format of timeouts, periods and halftimes. Regardless of the format, the breaks will be programmed with entertainment elements like dance performances, sponsor contests and fan cams. When the event wraps up and the final whistle blows, the result will be announced with trophy presentations, walkout music and final announcements.
Another similarity across most of the events we produce is broadcast integration. From nationally televised games to an online stream, it’s important to sync up with the broadcast team to confirm timings, commercial format and in-venue highlights that will be picked up by the network. A successful in-venue presentation will look good on TV, driving ratings and impressing future ticket buyers who see the experience from afar.
With the various similarities across the sports also come aspects that need to be customized to each event. One of the most obvious is to know your crowd. For instance, we script the music and audio experience much differently for a patriotic crowd of rugby fans at the USA vs. Canada match than say, a community event for Russell Wilson and Kasey Kahne designed for the kids in attendance. The talent needs for each event vary as well, depending on the type of event and the target audience. The BET Celebrity Game featured a DJ and a celebrity host who provided humorous play-by-play commentary throughout the event. Compare that to a Seattle Storm game, which utilizes a traditional PA Announcer as well as an In-Arena Host for fan promotions.
Sports entertainment production takes place across a variety of platforms and venues. Whatever it is that you’re producing, take the time to plan out the similarities and customized differences (technical and creative) and you are sure to set up the festivities for success.