SBD/October 23, 2013/Media

Bears Employ State-Of-The-Art Multimedia Center, Giving Fans 24/7 Access To Team

The Bears have "taken a bold move into the 21st century by building the most advanced in-house multimedia facility in the NFL," according to Ed Sherman in a special for USA TODAY. Bears Dir of Broadcasting Greg Miller said that much of the "40,000-square-foot addition to Halas Hall features state-of-the-art TV and radio studios; deluxe new interview rooms for use by the team and network studio shows; and a technical center." There also is "event space, allowing the team to bring in studio audiences for shows." Individual NFL teams have "become media content companies to cash in on the insatiable demand for all things football." The Bears produce "multiple team-branded TV shows that are distributed locally in Chicago." They also air "regular video features on the team's website, and the Bears were the first -- and still one of the few -- teams to produce their preseason game coverage." In addition, there is a "new radio studio that could enable the team to have its own station on HD radio." Bears President & CEO Ted Phillips: "What we've found is that you can't give the fans enough, especially the inside access." NFL VP/Club Business Development Brian Lafemina said from a media standpoint, the Bears' new facility is "a very forward-thinking move." However, Sherman notes the in-house setup "does raise the question of whether teams such as the Bears are trying to control the message." Is this "an attempt to provide a more sanitized perspective to fans?" Phillips "denied that media control was the motivation." He said, "If there's one thing I've learned in 30 years with the Bears, it's that you can't control the message." Dan Jiggetts, who does analysis for several Bears-produced shows, said that the team "hasn't tried to censor him." Phillips noted Bears-produced content "allows the team to showcase community initiatives and go behind the scenes for features that spotlight a player away from the field" (USA TODAY, 10/23).
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