College Football Kickoff 2021: Pac-12 Networks Returns With New Brand-Wide Unifying Graphics Package
Creative team partnered with Troika Media Group on redesign inspired by natural beauty of the West
There’s a hint of fall in the air. College football is back!
At Pac-12 Networks, the new academic year begins with a celebratory feel with fans returning to campus, and the network’s on-air look gets a complete refresh in a comprehensive graphics redesign.
P12N viewers will notice a new graphic look this year, one that celebrates the natural beauty of the geographic footprint of the Pac-12.
The main goal of the redesign is simple: unification. Most notably, the vision is to unite the network across its suite of multimedia products ranging from television to mobile, social, and more.
“The network overall, not just for our live events, has repositioned the business model offering a lot of multi-platform connections of both live and on-demand content,” says Pac-12 Networks Creative Director Brandon Bautista. “We wanted to make sure that our graphics package was legible and consumable on all different kinds of platforms. We had to be able to have something that’s a little more modular and something that we can make work across the board. It allowed us to remove any kind of branding inconsistencies as well as unify the brand while also creating a new visual experience for our audience.”
This is a project on which the P12N Creative Department — Shirley Hsia, Tim Russell, Eric Luk, Brett Hauze, Angela Wells, and Ric Valdez — worked alongside Troika Media Group, one of the graphic-design powerhouses of the sports-broadcast industry, for nearly two years. The package is massive and continues to be built out. Bautista estimates that the number of elements created so far ranges between 20,000 and 30,000.
Creatively, designers succeeded in leaning into the natural beauty that personifies the campuses of the Pac-12. Whether that’s the mountain ranges of Colorado and Utah, the forests of Oregon and Washington, the deserts of Arizona, or the beaches of Southern California, the design celebrates the outdoor beauty of the West along with the environmentally conscious side of the conference.
“I think one of my favorite things about this whole project is our motion theory and how we use not just scenic imagery but the organic flow and natural movement you find in nature,” says Bautista. “A lot of our assets we’ll animate, like the way a wave flows or crashes against the cliff side or the beach. Some of it will flow, like how clouds do around mountains. I thought that was one of the more unique things that I’ve experienced within my design time. I think that’s probably one of the most unique things and most fun elements that we got to play with in this project.”
He also feels that the redesign brings something new to the market, taking a lead more from lifestyle and nature than from sports.
“I wanted something that was very own-able to us and us alone,” he explains. “I have been working in the sports field for over 10 years now, and what I’ve seen in sports broadcasting all feels like it blends together and looks alike. This look was something so different that it really is own-able, not just to our conference but in sports in general and sports broadcasting. It sets us apart from anything I’ve ever seen out there. Our package, I think, resembles more something you’d see on a Discovery Channel or a Travel Channel, because we are one of the few conferences where we can really celebrate our natural surroundings that encompass our footprint.”
The package made its general debut in August when the network began broadcasting some of its Olympic sports. This weekend marks its first rollout onto a crowded slate of football broadcasts.
Live Game Production Looks To Strike Balance in Its Methods
The new graphics package also included plenty of new eye candy for live productions, including new inserts, lower thirds, and a slight change to the typography within the scorebug.
A total of 36 games will air exclusively on Pac-12 Networks this season, which starts with a vengeance: 16 of them come in the first three weeks. According to Kyle Reischling, VP, remote events, Pac-12 Networks, the operations team is planning a fairly even mix of production methods for its slate of football games this season. That includes both full-truck and at-home productions from the network’s San Francisco facility. He estimates that 17 games will receive the full onsite treatment and 19 will be handled with what P12N calls “multi-cams.”
Most games typically have either six or seven human-operated cameras alongside a number of robotic POVs, “all-22,” and beauties. For bigger games, the network will add multiple high-frame-rate cameras.
Gravity Media’s Opus and Ovation production units travel to the campuses to support the at-home productions. The full-truck shows are anchored by NEP mobile units, the top facility being NEP Mira Mobile M12. As a whole, the network continues to distribute its HD product in 1080i.
Week 1 of the college football season on Pac-12 Networks continues Friday evening with Northern Colorado at Colorado (6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT). On Saturday, there are four games: Fresno State at Oregon ( 11 a.m. PT), San Jose State at USC (2 p.m. PT), Montana at Washington (5 p.m. PT), and Utah State at Washington State (8 p.m. PT).