Mobile-Facilities Providers Aim To Work Through Coronavirus Challenges as a Community

Dome Productions’ Carlyle says health and safety of her team is foremost concern

Mobile-production facilities providers are still processing what has become their new reality: there will likely be almost no sports events to produce for two months — likely longer. Aside from weathering the current storm of empty trucks and jobless crews, facilities providers are also faced with the potential challenge of finding enough trucks to serve a wave of sports events that will suddenly hit the schedule all at once when competition resumes later this year. However, even with these overwhelming struggles, truck companies remain focused on taking care of what’s most important: their people.

“We do understand the hit this is going to have on freelancers, and I’m very concerned about them,” says Mary Ellen Carlyle, SVP/GM, Dome Productions, “but overall health and safety is the biggest thing. It’s important that people are safe above everything else. We’re definitely going through a bad time right now, but we’ve always bounced back after dark times. We are a community and a family, so we need to work together to get through this.”

Carlyle’s sentiments echo those expressed to SVG last week by other industry execs. Program Productions President/CEO Bob Carzoli, Mobile TV Group President Phil Garvin, Game Creek Video President Pat Sullivan, NEP Broadcast Services Global President Mike Werteen all said they are most concerned for the well-being of their employees and freelancers during this difficult time.

While it’s still early days in the fluid evolution of this global pandemic, Carlyle does see a potential light at the end of the tunnel. As spring events are postponed into late summer and early fall, an overcrowded sports calendar will likely create a wealth of opportunities for truck providers.

“We’re going to get hit pretty hard for the next few months, but I do believe the business will come back,” she says. “With [the NHL and NBA seasons] probably extending into July and August, which is always a slow time for us, that could be a very interesting and busy time for us.”

Although the increased number of events on the calendar may boost truck providers’ business during the usually slow summer months, the slew of shows migrating to the fall season is likely to be far more challenging.

“September, October, and November are some of our busiest months,” says Carlyle, “and they are starting to push events into that [timeframe], which is going to create a major truck-capacity issue. That is not the worst thing in the world to deal with, though, and I’m sure we will work together to get through that.”

Regardless of how the next few months play out, she believes, the keys to staying afloat during difficult times are high-quality leadership and communication.

“When you have bad economic times,” she says, “you have to move through them. That’s where leadership and communication have to come in. The number-one thing is the health and safety of our team, and we will do everything possible to ensure that as we work through this together.”