NBA Season Tip-Off: Despite Lakers’ Struggles, TWC SportsNet at Top of Its Game
Despite the Lakers’ well publicized troubles on the court last season, one factor remained constant for fans: the quality of Lakers telecasts on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Deportes. Since launching in 2012, the TWC English and Spanish regional sports nets have cultivated a Lakers-focused brand and programming slate that emphasizes extensive live studio shows, behind-the-scenes access to the team, and, most important, high-tech game coverage.
“It is incredibly important to us to stay cutting-edge with all of our technology,” says Larry Meyers, VP, content/executive producer, TWC Sports. “We are constantly evolving and improving on- and off-camera and work hard to give our viewers an innovative telecast that keeps them engaged.”
On the Court
For Lakers game coverage this year, TWC SportsNet has added through-the-glass robotic cameras, one at each end of the court. In addition, Inertia Unlimited has provided two X-Mo Blue ultra-slo-mo camera systems, which feature Vision Research Phantom v642 cameras and Inertia Unlimited’s streamlined, user-friendly system. Each camera mounts on a Stanton Video mini-head robotic, and Inertia Unlimited has provided Canon 14X4.3 wide-angle lenses.
TWC SportsNet will once again use IMS Productions’ HD3 mobile unit, which launched prior to the 2013-14 season, for its home shows, and TWC Deportes will call IMS Productions’ D1 home this season. HD3 and D1 are tied together, giving both shows the ability to share camera and EVS-replay resources while producing two separate telecasts.
In addition, TWC now has full fiber connectivity to all of its live home venues, including the Staples Center and the Toyota Sports Center practice facility, which “allows us to transport signals, files, and data in a way that truly enhances the nature of our content,” says Meyers.
In the Studio
Anytime a 24-hour cable network’s primary fall-winter schedule is built around a single pro-sports franchise (TWC has the WNBA’s Sparks and MLS’s Galaxy during the summer and fall), it’s going to require plenty of shoulder programming to go with live games. And TWC SportsNet has that in spades.
Its signature Lakers studio shows, Access SportsNet: Lakers (which serves as pre/post-game on game nights) and the social-media–driven the #LakeShow, provide the RSN with two-plus hours of nightly programming and have already been up and running for several weeks.
All studio shows are produced out of Time Warner Cable Sports’ studios in El Segundo, CA, which also houses operations for the Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA network.
New production elements for this year’s Access SportsNet: Lakers and #LakeShow include a touchscreen, increased use of Bloomberg Sports advanced analytics, and updated graphics. Also, TWC SportsNet has added former NBA All-Star Antawn Jamison as an analyst.
Behind the Scenes
As for original programming, the network has brought back its behind-the-scenes docu-series Backstage: Lakers, which has been airing weekly since the start of training camp, as well as the reality miniseries Laker Girls, which follows the team’s dance squad. Other behind-the-scenes programming includes photography series Through the Lens, with new episodes this month, including an edition with Lakers head coach Byron Scott (premieres 11/18).
Also on the programming docket are new episodes of interview series Connected With…, including early-season editions with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak (debuted 10/22), new point guard Jeremy Lin (debuting today), and new big man Carlos Boozer (debuting 11/5). New episodes of Lakers Top 10s premiere today.
No Shortage of Original Programming
As for original programming, the network has brought back its behind-the-scenes docu-series Backstage: Lakers, which has been airing weekly since the start of training camp, as well as the reality miniseries Laker Girls following the teams dance squad. Other behind-the-scenes programming includes the photography series Through the Lens, which will debut new episodes this month, including an edition with Lakers head coach Byron Scott (premieres 11/18).
Also on the programming docket are new episodes of the RSN’s interview series Connected With…, including early season editions with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak (debuted 10/22), new point guard Jeremy Lin (debuts 10/30) and new big man Carlos Boozer (debuts 11/5). New episodes of “Lakers Top 10s” also return this week (premieres 10/30).