ESPN warms to moving its coverage indoors
If ESPN’s Seth Markman learned one thing from last year’s surprisingly frigid Super Bowl week in Texas — when an ice storm paralyzed Arlington and weeklong temperatures were stuck below freezing — it’s that he doesn’t want to see his host’s breath on camera anymore.
“I told everybody that our goal from the first day was that we don’t want to see their breath,” said Markman, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer who oversees all of ESPN’s NFL studio shows. “Let’s put them inside. Let’s make them warm. … We spent more money to do this. But I think it’s going to look really cool on television.”
|Much of ESPN’s coverage from Indy will originate from a heated set on Pan American Plaza.
Markman would not say how much extra ESPN is spending on its set, which will look out over Lucas Oil Stadium and will resemble the “Today” show set — glass enclosed and heated. The crowd outside can watch and listen to the shows via JumboTrons placed in the plaza.
“I don’t think the viewers enjoy, necessarily, those guys sitting out there all bundled up with their breath coming through and their lips frozen,” Markman said. “We’re just trying to do the best shows possible with the best information and analysis.”
|SUPER BOWL ADVERTISERS|
|Skechers (Gorun shoes)||30|
|H&M (David Beckham line)||30|
|Honda (CR-V compact crossover)||60|
|Relativity Media ("Act of Valor")||30|
|2nd Story Software (TaxACT program)||30|
|PLACEMENT TO BE DETERMINED|
|A-B InBev||4 min., 30 sec.|
|History Channel ("Swamp People")||30|
|Kia (Optima Limited)||60|
|PepsiCo (Pepsi Max)||--|
|PepsiCo (Pepsi/X Factor winner)||30|
|Walt Disney Pictures||--|
Note: Chart is intended to reflect only spots set to air during the actual game. Pregame, halftime and postgame spots are not included.
ESPN does not hold rights to the Super Bowl, or any NFL playoff game, for that matter. But ESPN will have, by far, the biggest programming presence in Indianapolis with 110 live hours of programming for its television and radio stations from the host city.
Last year, ESPN expected warmer weather in North Texas and constructed outdoor sets. As a result, it had to scramble and move some of its shows, like “SportsNation” and “Mike and Mike,” to different locations.
“We should be worrying about doing television and content,” Markman said. “We spent too much time last year focused on logistics, weather, how we’re getting where we’re getting. To be honest with you, nobody at home really cares about that.”
ESPN typically starts scouting locations for its Super Bowl sets about 18 months before the game. Markman already has been active in New Orleans and plans to start scouting locations in New York by the fall.
In New York, Markman expects to find a spot in Manhattan, or at least a place with a view of the skyline. ESPN also will have a set at the stadium. “That’s a totally different scenario than we’re used to doing,” Markman said. “Now, we’re talking about a cold weather city and a cold weather stadium. We’ve never had that.”
From its set in Pan Am Plaza, ESPN is planning a series of Super Bowl-themed specials to run in the 3-4 p.m. time slot.
On Monday and Tuesday this week, it will feature “The Insiders” with NFL reporters Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter and John Clayton. On Wednesday at 3 p.m., Mike Tirico is hosting a one-hour show dedicated to safety in the NFL.
“The one tricky part about the Super Bowl is that there’s 30 fan bases that aren’t overly interested in the results of the Super Bowl,” Markman said. “We’re always careful to make sure we’re still covering the entire league and not just spending all of these hours talking about two teams all week.”
On Thursday, ESPN will have “Monday Night Football’s” look ahead to the Super Bowl with Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski. And on Friday, it will produce a “champions” show, featuring all analysts who have won a Super Bowl ring on set.
ESPN will have a four-hour “Sunday Countdown” on Super Bowl Sunday, but it has to end by 2 p.m. because that’s when the Super Bowl broadcaster’s window of exclusivity starts.
|SUPER BOWL RATINGS/VIEWERSHIP TRENDS|
Note: Super Bowl I was simulcast Source: Nielsen