Research Outline-Sports Management
A sports fan in 2010 is able to follow their team in a number of ways – on television, on the internet, in a newspaper or on the radio. What most sports fans don’t realize is that there is a huge amount of behind the scenes action in putting together a televised broadcast – operations play a key role. Take a Columbus Bluejackets hockey game for the NHL. A typical local (i.e. not national) Fox Sports Ohio broad cast of a game requires:
Producer Travis Williams, director Christian Roberts and a crew of 25 people. 40 videoscreens 12 cameramen – and cameras Director Roberts choreographs an intricate dance – telling cameramen what to shoot and when, choosing from multiple screen shots, deciding when to air commercials – after all someone does need to pay for the broadcast – and choosing when to air replays.
Consider the following descriptions of the scene behind the scenes from a recent Columbus Dispatch article: “Just ahead of the scheduled 7 PM start, Ed Milliken, sits in front of the 40 video screens and puts on headphones. “Hello darlings” he says to announcers Davidge and Jeff Rimer. As captain of the ship, Milliken spends the evening telling commentators how long to talk and giving them game-related insights to repeat. He decides simultaneously what viewers will see – a wide look at the ice, a scan of fans, a close-up of a player. Next to Milliken, director Christian Roberts makes the captain’s requests happen – guiding the 12 cameramen stationed throughout the arena. Seven people in the truck – parked in the loading dock since 10 AM – handle the sound and graphics and track player statistics. During the first period, Riner calls Jackets defenseman Anton Stralman by the wrong name – Thrashers defensemen Ron Hainsey – and the crew notices.”
This activity continues for nearly three hours. Crew members look forward to breaks in the game so that they can air commercials and take a very short break. Yet, they don’t get any for nearly 20 minutes – at one point joking “Can you throw some nickels out on the ice”. Think about how hockey differs from basketball, football and baseball in terms of breaks in play and timeouts – this makes a smooth broadcast more challenging. Late in the game, Roberts has to keep a careful eye on both the action, and where he expects the action to be: “With five minutes left in the game and the Jackets up 2-0, Milliken starts talking about the stars of the game. The clock reaches 2:30 and Roberts tells a cameraman to “sit on the white goalie”, referring to Johan Hedberg of the Thrashers. Atlanta pulls Hedberg and fans at home see him skate off the ice” In short, televising a sporting event requires a lot of work, many people and some good operations management.
Points to Consider while responding to this essay question
How do television stations/networks handle unexpected events or long delays in a game? What is the equivalent of inventory for if something goes wrong? What elements of project management contribute to a smooth/good broadcast? (Chapter 8: Project Management)