Live From NBA All-Star: NBA TV, Turner Sports Social-Media Efforts Go Beyond the Game
Significant resources are dedicated to NBA TV, Area 21 on Facebook, The Warmup on Twitter
Although TNT is carrying a whopping 24 hours of NBA All-Star programming this week, Turner Sports’ efforts go well beyond the mothership network. NBA TV (co-owned and -operated by the NBA and Turner) and Turner Sports’ social-media shows — Area 21 on Facebook and The Warmup on Twitter — are diving deeper into the festivities in downtown Los Angeles this week, rolling out multiple trucks and three onsite sets to produce more than 20 hours of combined programming.
“We are obviously aware that content is consumed in a lot of different ways across a lot of different touchpoints and we want to make sure that Turner is producing content at the highest level across all of those – social included,” says Tyler Price, Director of Content, Social Media, Turner Sports. “I think the really unique part is that we don’t see our role as connecting with people in just one way throughout the night. We believe everything should play together to create an entire content experience. So whether you’re on Twitter watching the Warmup and then head over to Facebook Live while you’re watching the TV experience, it’s all great content coming from the Turner brand. We are committed to creating a really cool experience focused on that inside access.”
NBA TV Goes All Out for Week-long Shoulder Programming
NBA TV has two mobile units onsite, Lyon 11 (A and B) and Lyon 14 (A and B), to deliver more than 17 hours of live All-Star coverage from Los Angeles this week.
“Sometimes it’s easy to overlook NBA TV because there is so much going on here,” says Chris Brown, senior director, technical operations, Turner Sports. “But they are a huge, huge piece of the weekend. They are the first ones on the air this morning and the last one off at night. The volume of content and the number of hours of live shoulder programming that they are putting out this weekend is just amazing. It is a huge piece because they cover all of the little pieces that are small but very important.”
Lyon 11 (A and B) is serving as home to NBA TV’s studio at the NBA on TNT Road Show, which features a new ready-built mobile set built by Filmwerks and located on Chick Hearn Ct.
“That has been new for us because we have not usually gone with a ready-built ‘roll it up, open it up, and you’re ready to go’ kind of set for NBA TV,” says Brown. “But this definitely is the environment for it since it’s very compact. That has been going very well.”
Meanwhile, Lyon 14 (A and B) is serving as the home for events at the convention center: the Rising Stars Practice and Media Day yesterday; Hall of Fame Announcement, NBA All-Star Practice and Media Day, and Commissioner Adam Silver’s press conference today; and the NBA G League International Challenge on Sunday.
Building a ‘Social Master Control’ for Area 21 and The Warmup
On the social-media side, the Turner Sports Operations team is handling daily streaming productions of Kevin Garnett’s Area 21 on Facebook and interactive, fan-focused The Warmup on Twitter. In addition, Turner’s social team is onsite, producing a wealth of additional content throughout the event.
“Social keeps growing and is probably the biggest increase in terms of resources over the last few years,” says Brown. “Right now, we are occupying three control rooms’ worth of just social; that’s hugely different from a couple years ago. The reality is, five years ago, [our truck-compound growth] was all about multimedia edits. Now the biggest growth is control-room space for social-media programming.”
Area 21 is being produced as a three-camera show out of a studio inside Staples Center using NEP SS24C mobile unit. Area 21 will serve as companion experience with host Kevin Garnett will be located in a suite inside the arena and reacting to Saturday and Sunday nights events, as well as bringing in special guests, including Charles Barkley and Nate Robinson for the Slam Dunk contest.
“You will be able to watch the night’s events with KG,” says Price. “That content is meant to be complementary to what your watching on your TV as if KG was right there with you reacting to every great moment throughout the night.”
Meanwhile, The Warmup is sharing NBA TV resources via a VER-engineered flypack inside Lyon 11B unit. The Warmup, which has a set atop the VIP deck looking out onto the NBA All-Star Roadshow.
“The Warmup is really focused on harnessing all the content on Twitter surrounding All-Star Weekend,” says Price. “It will grab all the conversations surrounding All-Star and give our hosts a chance to react and elaborate on storylines. And interact with fans based on what their opinions are.”
Turner has also deployed two LiveU bonded-cellular units to capture content throughout Los Angeles and integrate it into the social-media shows.
To tie all this together, Turner has enlisted NEP’s ATU truck as “social-media master control.” Both Area 21 and The Warmup feeds are sent from their trailers into ATU, where an operator pushes the final streams out to Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, the operator has access to other trucks’ ancillary feeds, such as NBA TV’s Hall of Fame press-conference coverage and Turner’s TNT Overtime, in order to stream that content to Facebook or Twitter.
“The goal for us from a social content perspective is to provide as much acess as we can to fans who can’t be at All-Star Weekend,” says Price. “That’s not just for the game, but also for the ancillary events that are happening here at All-Star. We want to make sure that we are highlighting everything that goes into making this the cultural moment that it is out here in L.A. So our goal for all the social content we are creating is to tell that story and share that access with our fans.”
For more of our coverage from the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend, CLICK HERE.