IMG Media To Tell Stories Of Sandy, Boston Bombings In Production Of N.Y. Marathon
IMG execs say that added security in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings will have no effect on IMG Media's production of the ING N.Y. Marathon this Sunday. IMG Media Senior VP & Exec Producer Steve Mayer said, "As much as I want to tell a story of woe, no; it's business as usual. The tone of the broadcasts potentially has changed a bit, where we're telling stories of what's happened over the past year and connecting them to what's going to happen on Sunday." That does not mean there will not be changes to the telecast of the race, which was cancelled last year because of damage from Hurricane Sandy. This year marks ESPN's first in carrying the event. It also marks the first time it will be produced in high-definition. "We're probably the last of the major events to come over to HD," Mayer joked. IMG will have a crew of close to 300 people on hand to produce the events, using 43 cameras, seven production trucks and multiple helicopters. It is producing the start of the race locally for WABC from 7:00-9:00am ET; a live show for ESPN from 9:00-12:30pm; then more local coverage on WABC from 12:30-2:00pm. IMG will turn around a highlights show for ABC from 4:00-6:00pm, not to mention coverage on ESPN Deportes, ESPN3 and nearly 400 million TV homes in 160 countries. IMG Media Senior VP & Head of North America Distribution, Acquisitions & Sales Hillary Mandel said, "That's been really important to the New York City Marathon to get to a place where we can blow out the local coverage because it is a local story. But it is a world marathon, seen by the world, too. It's the first time that it's been seen on this level of national television in the last eight years." The presentation will focus a lot on Sandy victims, of course, including several that plan to run the race. It also will highlight some runners that were affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. Mayer: "The coming together of Boston and New York is a theme that we'll talk about. We want to tell stories of inspiration. But at the same time, we're covering a sporting event. With ESPN, we've had much more focus on the race as a sporting event" (John Ourand, Staff Writer).
RETURN TO THE SPOTLIGHT: On Long Island, Neil Best notes the marathon Sunday will be on national TV "for the first time in 20 years." ESPN2's programming plan is to "focus on the unusual circumstances, especially in the early phases as elite runners mostly jockey uneventfully for position." Mayer said that the telecast during the first 90 minutes or so of the race "will feature stories of runners who were affected by Sandy and the Boston bombings." But the actual race for many viewers "is difficult to sit through" (NEWSDAY, 11/1).