Saturday, September 20, 2008

Touring the ESPN Campus in Bristol, CT

ESPN Tour - my official visitor badge
(People who still call me "Arthur": my mom, and the security desk folks at ESPN)

As my wife likes to remind me weekly, I am spoiled.

I get to do some pretty cool things in the name of 'work'. Nice meals, big games, etc. And over time you get used to some of these things as 'coming with the territory'. I wouldn't say you take them for granted, but after 8+ years of it the 'wow' effect isn't as strong as it was, say for example, the very first time I got an afternoon of free beer, sun and baseball on a rooftop in Wrigleyville.

However, every now and then you get to do something really cool and unique that snaps you out of your nonchalance and reminds you how freaking lucky you are not to still be writing table tent copy promoting monthly catering specials for a local bagel bakery chain (although those were good times, too, in their own way).

On Monday September 8th, I got to log work hours that involved touring some of the ESPN campus in Bristol, CT.

ESPN tour

It was literally like this SportsCenter commercial with Peyton and Eli Manning.

At one point we were in that hallway and our host pointed out that yes, it was the hallway from that commercial. I resisted the urge to back trip one of my colleagues.

Below is a shot of a mini football field which you may or may not see figure into an NFL Countdown this season. Would be nice to see the guys take their mini run throughs outside once or twice.


Pretty cool hallway. Wouldn't be bad walking through that everyday.


Unfortunately there weren't any games going on when we were there, but we were told it can get pretty heated on this court.


The set where NFL Live is shot. One of a number of studios we got to see that day.


Early days shot of Berman. One of many classic pictures hanging on the walls.


The NASCAR studio. That car was actually raced once by Tony Stewart. I've been to one race but never got this close to a car. Much more compact than you might imagine seeing them on TV.



At one point during the tour we got to "see the sausage being made", if you will. They were producing a quick phone interview between Bob Ley and Bobby Knight, getting Coach Knight's reflections about Don Haskins, who had died over the weekend. Was pretty interesting seeing all the logistics involved in putting that together. The areas highlighted by the yellow boxes are (1) the graphic slate showing a head shot of Coach Knight and something like a 'by phone' note, and (2) Bob Ley in the studio doing whatever he does while the production folks patch the call together and whatnot. Got to hear Knight refer to Haskins as a 'tough, honest son of a bitch' or something along those lines.

espn control room interview bob ley and bobby knight

Other notable things that I didn't capture with my Helio:

- Linda Cohn walked right by us while I was txting someone about something. So I missed seeing her directly, but through my peripheral vision I would estimate she's like 5'1", tops.

- At one point Kordell Stewart and Jamaal Anderson also walked past us. Jamaal Anderson is listed as 5'11". No way that's true. Maybe 5'9". And, for what it's worth, he has his own MySpace page.

All in all, pretty damn cool.