Inside the Graphics for March Madness, Super Bowl LV, ESPN College Football, and the NHL Bubble

SVG's Sports Graphics Forum will also showcase NBC Sports Edge BetCast, MLS virtual sponsorship on ESPN, and TUDN's AR efforts

While 2020 and early 2021 have been a challenge for the sports-graphics industry, there have certainly been moments to celebrate. And SVG’s Sports Graphics Forum this Wednesday and Thursday (March 24-25) will do just that, highlighting some of the groundbreaking new graphics packages unveiled over the past year as well as the latest advancements in graphic technology, data visualization, augmented reality, and sports betting graphics. Among the highlights, CBS Sports‘ graphics team will go inside the design of the new NCAA March Madness package, as well well as offer an inside look at Super Bowl LV and Nickelodeon’s NFL Wild Card Game graphics.

The new NCAA March Madness package is anchored by the “Hype Wall”

Other highlights include deep dives into ESPN’s College Football graphics rebuild and the NHL 2020 Return to Play live event graphics on Day 1 follow by in-depth Day 2 presentations on Univision’s TUDN AR package and virtual fans, ESPN’s MLS Is Back Tournament virtual sponsorship, NBC Sports Edge BetCast coverage of the PGA Tour, and the Portland Trailblazers’ extended reality efforts. A trio of Panels across the two-day event will address ‘Tips, Tools, and Techniques’ from top graphics vendors; the latest developments in Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Extended Reality (XR); and the roll Data Visualization Graphics play in telling the story on screen.

CLICK HERE to register now and see the full program below.

Day 1: March 24
Graphics Design, Tools, & Workflows

(All times are in Eastern Time Zone)

1:00 – 1:05 p.m.: Welcoming Remarks

1:05 – 1:30 p.m.: State of the Arts Spotlight: CBS Sports’ Super Bowl LV and Nickelodeon NFL Wild Card Game Graphics
In addition to undertaking its second Super Bowl in three years, the CBS Sports graphics team created a unique experience with the NFL Wild Card Game broadcast on Nickelodeon. As the first-ever NFL telecast produced for kids and family, the Nickelodeon broadcast leveraged augmented reality to put slime cannons in the pylons, googly eyes on players, and SpongeBob SquarePants between the goalposts. The CBS Sports team will also go inside the impressive new look created for Super Bowl LV.
JP LoMonaco, CBS Sports, VP, On-Air Graphics and Design

1:30 – 1:55 p.m.: State of the Arts Spotlight: ESPN’s College Football Graphics Rebuild
Although 2020 was filled with tremendous challenges, nothing deterred ESPN from taking on a massive redesign of its college-football properties. Come learn all about how the ESPN team started with a blank canvas and ended up with a comprehensive design system that accounted for all FBS and FCS games, ESPN College Gameday’s new look, and a full rebrand of the College Football Playoff.
Dale Harney
, ESPN, Art Director
Tim O’Shaughnessy, ESPN, Creative Director, College Sports
Lisa Rader, ESPN, Designer
Lindsay Reiff, ESPN, Project Manager

1:55 – 2:10 p.m.: Vizrt Case Study: Blazing A Virtual Trail – The Portland Trail Blazers Make it Rain With Extended Reality
As a long-time Vizrt partner the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers have pioneered team-level use of AR graphics, and are one of the few professional sports organizations to use team staff to produce and broadcast league games as a regional sports network. The Portland Trail Blazers and Vizrt serve up a lively discussion on the evaluation and adoption of new technology – including Extended Reality, AR editorial enhancements, virtual ad insertion, and more.
Kevin Bovet
, Vizrt, VP, Head of Sports
Jeff Curtin
, Portland Trail Blazers, Director of Broadcasting

2:10 – 2:35 p.m.: State of the Arts Presentation: NHL 2020 ‘Return To Play’ Live Event Graphics
Undefined Creative played a unique role in helping NHL reboot the 2020 hockey season after the lockdown. The graphics company created more than 1,000 animations that played throughout every game from the Qualifiers to the Finals. The animations provided dynamic, colorful “eye candy” for eight large screens of various dimensions that flanked the arenas in Edmonton and Toronto, enhancing the NHL’s “made-for-television” approach to this unprecedented season.
Maria Rapetskaya, Undefined Creative, Founder & Creative Director

2:35 – 3:00 p.m.: State of the Arts Spotlight: Bringing the 2021 NCAA March Madness Package to Life
In anticipation of the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, CBS Sports and Turner Sports teamed up to revamp the March Madness graphics package. Sadly, after months of development, the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic. However, the package has now been resurrected for this year’s NCAA Tournament and brings an innovative new look to one of the most highly-anticipated events on the annual sports calendar.
Komal Bhukhanwala
, CBS Sports, Art Director

3:00 – 3:45 p.m.: Broadcast Graphics Tech Focus: Tips, Tools, and Techniques
The sports-graphics world has more-powerful technology and creative tools at their fingertips than ever before. However, it’s not easy to keep up with the rapid evolution of graphics creation and playout systems. Leading manufacturers discuss their product offerings, how they are evolving, the growing role of gaming engines and other next-gen technologies, and how they see the industry advancing in the years to come.
Moderator: Ken Kerschbaumer, SVG, Co-Executive Director, Editorial
Terry Daily
, Ross Video, Senior Designer and Rocket Surgery Virtual Productions Specialist
Joe Finlayson, Epic Games, Technical Account Manager
Remo Ziegler, Vizrt, SVP, Product Management

3:45 – 4:15 p.m.: Live Speaker Q&A and Networking Zoom Room

Day 2: March 25
Data Visualization, Augmented Reality, and Betting

(All times are in Eastern Time Zone)

1:00 – 1:30 p.m.: Augmented Reality Spotlight: Univision’s TUDN AR Package and Virtual Fans
At the tail end of 2019, Univision Deportes and Grupo Televisa launched an initiative to brand the two companies together as TUDN. In the months since, the TUDN brand has continued to innovate its on-air graphics package with augmented reality at the forefront. In addition, With fans unable to attend live matches due to the pandemic, TUDN has been at the forefront of virtual audience solutions in recent months. Get an inside look at how TUDN is using AR to provide viewers with a more immersive and compelling experience.
Eduardo Ledesma
, TUDN Mexico, Director, Technical Operations, Sports
Alexis Salinas, Univision Deportes, Senior Director, Technical Creative Services

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.: AR, MR, and XR: Broadcasters Create a New ‘Reality’ on the Field, in the Studio, and in the Stands
Whether augmented reality, mixed reality, or extended reality, the role of virtual elements in live sports broadcasts and studio shows has never been more vital. In addition to on-field virtual graphics and in-studio features, the pandemic has forced broadcasters to explore the use of virtual fans in the stands. Hear from industry leaders on how the use of AR is evolving in live sports productions and how broadcasters are leveraging these technologies to create a more immersive and compelling viewing experience.
Moderator: Jason Dachman, SVG, Chief Editor; 2021 Sports Graphics Forum, Program Director
Charlie Collin, ESPN Creative Services, Senior Manager, Motion Graphics and Production Enhancements
Warren Drones, Epic Games, Senior Product Specialist
Gideon Ferber, Ross Video, Director, Product Management and Business Development, Virtual Solutions
Dan Pack, Silver Spoon Animation, Founding Partner and Managing Director
Emily Stone, Girraphic, Real-Time Production Manager

2:30 – 2:50 p.m.: Virtual Advertising Spotlight: ESPN’s Virtual Sponsorship at The MLS Is Back Tournament
ESPN teamed up with Major League Soccer to develop virtual advertising and in-program enhancements for the league’s national and international television broadcasts for the MLS is Back Tournament in Florida in July. AR technology provided the league’s partners and advertisers with virtual graphics on and around the field, while a virtual 300-by-15-foot wall on the far sideline displayed hundreds of messages per game. ESPN’s graphics team goes inside how they pulled off this complex project on an ultra-short timeline.
Charlie Collin, ESPN Creative Services, Senior Manager, Motion Graphics and Production Enhancements
Michael “Spike” Szykowny, ESPN Creative Services, Senior Director, Motion Graphics and Production Planning

2:50 – 3:00 p.m.: Sports Graphics Q&A With Fox Sports’ Zac Fields
Since its launch more than 25 years ago, few media outlets have made a more indelible impact on the sports-graphics landscape than Fox Sports. SVG sits down with SVP of Graphics Technology and Integration Zac Fields to get an update on the latest graphics innovations and technologies coming out of Fox Sports.
Interviewer: Ken Kerschbaumer, SVG, Co-Executive Director, Editorial
Interviewee: Zac Fields, Fox Sports, SVP, Graphics Technology and Integration

3:00 – 3:45 p.m.: Data Visualization: How Data and Virtual Graphics Combine To Tell the Story
With all four major U.S. sports leagues operating their own player‐tracking systems, broadcasters have more data at their fingertips than ever for producing live game presentations for fans. Meanwhile, today’s sports viewers are hungrier than ever for deep-dive statistics and metrics on the action. Learn how live-sports producers craft the story of the game by integrating live and historical data into compelling graphics for the broadcast.
Moderator: Kristian Hernandez, SVG, Associate Editor and Social Media Manager
Lee Brinson
, SMT, VP, Client Services, Durham Division
Jason Cohen, CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network, VP, Remote Technical Operations
Melanie Murphy, Freelance, Broadcast Producer and Digital Data Consultant

3:45 – 4:10 p.m.: Sports Betting Spotlight: NBC Sports Edge BetCast Coverage of the PGA Tour
In February, NBC Sports, the PGA Tour and PointsBet debuted NBC Sports Edge BetCast – the first-ever betting companion show for a PGA TOUR event. The live second-screen experience on Peacock Premium featured data-rich companion graphics, highlighting players’ scores and position, odds on props, and integration of tournament leaderboards and odds. NBC Sports’ graphics team provides an inside look at how the BetCast came to be and how building graphics for a betting-focused presentation differs from a traditional broadcast.
David Melfi, NBC Sports Group, Director, Graphics Integration

4:10 – 4:30 p.m.: Live Speaker Q&A and Networking Zoom Room

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