SBD/August 1, 2014/Media

SEC Schools Nearing Completion Of "Bureau Rooms" For New Conference Network

The launch of the SEC Network is a "mere two weeks away," and everyone at Auburn Univ.'s new network bureau room studio is "in a hurry to cap preparations and end the construction," according to Brandon Marcello of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. When the SEC Network launches Aug. 14, each school is "expected to be ready to broadcast live interviews from its 'bureau rooms.'" At Auburn, three control rooms are "expected to be operational by Nov. 1." Auburn Assistant AD/PR Cassie Arner said, "It's been a mad rush." Auburn has spent nearly $5M on the project, which is "believed to be one of the highest totals among the 14 SEC schools." Auburn also is "one of several schools that had to practically start from scratch with its broadcast infrastructure." Construction is expected to "stretch through the fall as the school leans on a lone control room inside Jordan-Hare Stadium during the first few months" of the SEC Network's existence. Auburn AD Jay Jacobs: "We had to dip into our savings a little bit to pay for that, but it's all good. We know it's a tremendous investment, but we expect it to be a pretty good return on that investment." ESPN Associate Dir of Remote Production Operations Rex Arends said that "only Florida has completed construction and Alabama and Arkansas are nearing the end." Arends: "This was a really tight time frame for everybody." Arends, who has traveled across the SEC on 165 flights over the last 12 months, earlier this spring "gave Auburn's crew a thumbs up." Auburn had one "broadcast-ready camera in May 2013, and has since purchased nine high-definition Hitachi cameras for live events, including several $100,000 camera lenses." War Eagle Productions now "houses 15 cameras capable of producing live and taped content meeting ESPN's standards" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 8/1).

COMING TO YOUR CITY: In Alabama, Matt Maddux notes the SEC Network's production team was on the Mercer Univ. campus earlier this week to "shoot the opening scenes" of "SEC Nation," the network's new traveling pregame show. Show producer Joe Disney said that he chose Mercer as the filming location because it "wouldn't have been fair had they gone to one of the conference's schools." The opening scenes will "feature Robert Randolph and the Family Band, one snare drummer from each schools' marching band and a host of fans representing each university" (HUNTSVILLE TIMES, 8/1).
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