Live From NBA All-Star Game: NEP Group Divisions Build Ties That Bind

With five NEP Group companies on hand for the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago it was once again a chance for Jason Honkus, NEP Group VP, engineering and operations, and almost 50 technicians to work together and find new ways to approach big-event production.

NEP’s Jason Honkus says the 2020 NBA All-Star Game production went well for the NEP team and its clients.

“It was very smooth this year and having EN1 and ND1 here for the past two years has just been great as those are two monster trucks,” says Honkus. “And with five NEP divisions, the mobile units, Bexel, Fletcher, AVS, and SOS here it’s been amazing seeing it all come together now that we are one happy family.”

During the weekend NEP EN1 A, B, C, and E units were used to produce Friday’s Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Game and Sunday night’s game. Supershooter 24 A, B, and C units handled NBA All-Star Saturday Night. All the production efforts tie to NEP ND1, which handles feed distribution for rightsholders.

The tightening relationships between the five divisions is making a difference when it comes to speeding up integration and set up. Everyone has a better understanding of each other’s needs and there is even the opportunity to leave equipment in the trucks, as was done this year with equipment that was in ND1 for football simply stayed on the truck until it rolled into Chicago.

The size of EN1 also gives the EVS replay team, which is working off of 30 replay servers, a chance to be in one production unit. And with all the camera feeds heading into ND1 the video shaders can sit in one unit and handle everything.

“That takes a load off of set-up as game replay is in one truck, super-mo cameras are in another,” said Honkus. “And with a Turner production team that has been involved with All-Star for more than 10 years they know the show. Every year they do things better and keep the show flow the same every year. On a show this size having consistent people year to year is huge.”

The trucks are already off to their next port, with EN1 set for ESPN college hoops and ND1 off for NBC golf coverage.