ESPN’s National Football League coverage will have a completely new look during the 2014 season thanks to a state-of-the-art 9,000 square foot NFL studio that will debut this week with the three-hour kickoff edition of ESPN’s Sunday “NFL Countdown” pregame. The first show in the new studio airs at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 7 – 35 years to the day of ESPN’s original network launch.
Just down the hall from the new SportsCenter studio which debuted in June, ESPN’s Studio W in Digital Center 2 will be the largest studio on the company’s Bristol, Conn., campus. In addition to Sunday NFL Countdown, it will be the new home for all other ESPN NFL studio programs – NFL Insiders, NFL Live, NFL PrimeTime and Monday Night Countdown, etc. – beginning Monday, Sept. 8.
The studio offers six different mini-set possibilities, plus additional standup areas. (Previously, all of ESPN’s NFL shows shared the same area in Studio E in Digital Center 1, along with other non-NFL programs, according to press materials from ESPN.)
The press release from ESPN cited the following:
a. 9,000 square feet of space – equivalent to half a football field (50 yards), making it the biggest set on ESPN’s Bristol, Con., campus;
b. Six different mini-set possibilities, plus additional standup areas
c. Film room with state-of-the-art touch screen system
d. Working research room
e. A second level, including research and film room areas
f. Hydraulic lifts to offer different looks and to easily move set pieces on the three main sets
g. Nearly all lighting is LED – close to 1,000 LED fixtures and 25 miles of LED tape
h.. Multiple movable LED screens
In addition to unveiling the new NFL studio, the news release from the sports network said, ESPN will also introduce new NFL show logos, graphics and theme music this week.
Chris Berman, longtime host of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown, who joined ESPN in October 1979, said in the press release, “It’s fitting that we are debuting the new NFL set on Sept. 7 because that marks 35 years to the day that we opened for business. That historical fact is certainly not lost on me. The set will be totally up to date and it’s got bells and whistles. It will accent the content we have on Countdown. We hope it feels comfortable and important and it draws people in.”
Seth Markman, senior coordinating producer, NFL studio shows, ESPN said in the press release:
“For the first time, every NFL show on ESPN will have its own signature look and feel, which is so important with the variety of NFL programming available today. The set is stunning and, in terms of functionality, it will enhance our presentation by allowing us to do so much more. We think fans are really going to like it.”