As a diehard sports fan now in my sixth year with ESPN, I often feel the need to pinch myself. Since the 49ers didn’t have a need for a 6-foot wideout with below average speed, I happily settled for the next best thing – spearheading media relations efforts for the X Games and West Coast publicity at the worldwide leader. A graduate of the University of Utah, I got my foot in the sports door during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics as part of the Nike Communications team. From there I made the jump into entertainment PR, working on television and special events publicity at an agency in Los Angeles. During my agency days, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on several ESPN scripted projects, X Games and the ESPYs. As an avid fan of all traditional stick and ball sports, I still say it’s tough to beat an early morning run of snowboarding on a powder day at the Winter X Games. Whether working an event in LA, Aspen or Shanghai, I can without hesitation say that I’m proud and blessed to work with such a talented and passionate group of pros.
posted by Danny Chi on November 29, 2012 12:00 PM
In May, ESPN announced it would be expanding the X Games franchise to Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain and Munich, Germany — joining X Games Aspen, Colo., Los Angeles, Calif. and Tignes, France — taking the premier action sports event global.
Since then, the X Games team has been busy working with the new host cities’ local organizing committee (LOC) to make the new events distinctly unique — infused with the lifestyle and culture of each city — yet ensuring the elements and core DNA that have made the X Games successful.
Over the past month, production meetings were held in Munich, Barcelona and Foz do Iguaçu. Taking the X Games to new global markets presents new staging and production challenges as well.
“This is an unprecedented challenge for us,” said Anthony Dittmann, X Games Barcelona event director.
“While ESPN has produced large events internationally, we are not only making TV but staging this event — meaning we need to design, create, build, staff and manage these temporary complexes in varied cultures. It’s very exciting and daunting at the same time.”
Though the X Games brand and events already travel well and resonate across many cultures, the expansion will undoubtedly guarantee more international media attention and coverage than before.
“This is clearly a great opportunity for us to increase the visibility of the event and brand,” said Phil Orlins, X Games senior coordinating producer. “This is something we focus on in many areas — from how the event is scheduled to what feeds we create for international broadcasters and how we handle international media at the events.”
Some early lessons according to Dittmann are, “Patience. Over communicate. Don’t take anything for granted. And, one meter equals 3.28 feet!”
Despite new lessons and challenges, still, it’s apparent the anticipation and excitement of growing and further evolving a unique property like the X Games is what’s fueling the X team into the global expansion of 2013.
Progression is what motivates all action sports athletes, and yes, the X Games staff, too.
In the gallery above, see renderings of what the venues in each new X Games locale will look like.
X Games 2013 Schedule:
Aspen, Colo., USA: January 24-27
Tignes, France: March 20-22
Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil: April 18-21
Barcelona, Spain: May 16-19
Munich, Germany: June 27-30
Los Angeles, Calif., USA: August 1-4
posted by Danny Chi on December 22, 2011 10:59 AM
LOS ANGELES — The NBA is back on Christmas Day, ESPN and ABC’s NBA pregame show is moving to the West Coast, and our Los Angeles Production Facility (LAPC) is ready, willing and more than able to help.
Kia NBA Countdown, the pregame show airing on both ESPN and ABC, will originate from ESPN’s LAPC at L.A. Live.
Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson will join Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard throughout the entire season.
Front Row sat down with Judi Cordray, vice president and general manager in charge of ESPN’s LAPC, for a quick chat about the show’s arrival as well as other happenings at the facility.
Front Row: How long has the team at the Los Angeles Production Center (LAPC) been preparing for the arrival of Kia NBA Countdown?
Judi Cordray: We have been discussing the possibility of doing the show from Los Angeles for several months now. Once the decision was made, it was a matter of set design, staffing, and of course, the big question of whether we’d even have an NBA season this year.
FR: Will the studio space be devoted exclusively to Kia NBA Countdown?
JC: The studio space will be shared with our other regular productions. Our two daily anchor productions are SportsCenter and Nación ESPN.
FR: In addition to Kia NBA Countdown, what other shows, productions and content are produced out of the LAPC these days?
JC: Well, since we officially opened the facility in early April 2009, we’ve been responsible for helping produce a significant amount of programming and content spanning across our linear, radio and digital platforms, including: SportsCenter (1 a.m. ET), Nación ESPN on Deportes and Dos Network, Audibles, The Next Round, Grantland Podcast, Winners Bracket as part of ESPN Sports Saturday on ABC, Lakers: The Triangle Forum for ESPNLA.com, a number or promotional shoots for various shows — most recently college football and The Muppets movie promo — and bureau cam shoots for Around The Horn, PTI, Press Pass, Deportes’ Cronometro, Juego Cruzado, Golpe a Golpe, Jore Ramos Y su Banda and many others.
FR: What do you envision as some of the benefits of producing Kia NBA Countdown from Los Angeles? continue reading…
posted by Danny Chi on October 6, 2011 2:54 PM
LOS ANGELES — Hope Solo’s dance card seems permanently filled.
The U.S. Women’s National Team soccer goalkeeper is cramming in publicity for her ESPN The Magazine The Body Issue photo shoot — she is one of four cover subjects — between regular rehearsals for her gig on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars.
Wednesday, she spoke to Front Row about her Magazine shoot after making an appearance on Access Hollywood Live.
The 2011 Women’s World Cup star reveals her favorite Body Issue portraits — hers and those of her colleagues — the challenge of disrobing in front of strangers and the athlete she would ask to pose in the 2012 Body Issue if she were in charge of recruiting.
Solo: I don’t know how I was approached– probably through my agent like most things come through. I’ve always been a huge fan of the magazine; it’s one of my favorites. Of course with the Body Issue I was a huge fan of [U.S. Men's National Team soccer goalie] Tim Howard doing it. I thought his shot was unbelievable and incredibly beautiful. Not just Timmy, but there were many athletes I admired for taking that risk and putting themselves out there. I didn’t even have to think about it, it was something I wanted to do.
FR: Which shots of you are your favorites and why? Have you seen anyone else’s from this issue?
Solo: My absolute favorite shot, and we were there for hours, we ended up with about six shots and the one that ended up on the cover was my favorite. I saw Blake [Griffin]’s, Apolo [Ohno]’s and Gretchen [Bleiler]’s and every photo was absolutely stunningly superb and very individual to their sport and what they do. Again, I think ESPN allowed the athlete to stay true to who they are as individuals. My favorite shot personally is Blake Griffin’s when he is jumping in the air. But I’ve also got to give my love to Apolo Ohno being from Seattle, of course.
FR: How much of a challenge was posing nude for you? continue reading…