Beijing 2022: Three Generations of Eady Family Are Onsite for Broadcast Services International
The sports-production business has always been a family affair, and that has never been more apparent than this month in Beijing, where Broadcast Services International (BSI) has three generations of the Eady family working the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
BSI Founder/Managing Director/CEO Jim Eady is working for BBC on an IBC installation project in his 22nd Olympic Games — and most likely his last as he heads into retirement. Meanwhile, Jim’s son Shea Eady, VP, operations, BSI, is working for NBC Olympics as a senior manager in his 14th Olympics, and Shea’s son Marshall Eady is working his very first Olympics, in NBC’s Field Shop. On top of that, Jim’s other son, Locke Eady, VP, productions, BSI, is another Olympic veteran and is in Beijing as a tech manager for NBC at the Genting Snow Park.
“Seeing my grandson Marshall with my old NBC toolbox made me feel very proud,” says Jim, “but also made me realize how fortunate and extremely proud I am of my three children, who are also my partners in the business. We believe in hard work and loyalty, and I guess many of our clients do as well, since many have been with us for more than 30 years.”
Olympics-Production Dynasty: From Montreal in 1976 to Beijing in 2022
Although parents and children working the same Games is nothing new, three generations doing so is a rarity even for an industry with long lineages like sports production.
Jim worked his first Olympics in 1976 Montreal when Shea was just three years old. In 1988, NBC approached Jim to become part of the team because of his prior Olympic experience, and BSI has been part of every NBC Olympics operation ever since.
“Since ,” he says, “I have had the benefit of working with one of the greatest technology machines in the world, and some of the greatest people as well. Live sports and the Olympics in particular have allowed us to experiment and stay current at the forefront of technology and production workflows. For NBC to recognize our expertise is humbling, and to have the BSI team join them for every Olympics since ’88 is an honor. I’m obviously very proud of how the BSI team represents my motto: “Family, Friends, and People We Trust.”
Nearly 20 years after Jim worked his first Games, son Shea made his Olympics debut on the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games, with Jim’s brother also on hand working for Jim. Locke followed in 2008 with his first Olympics. In addition, Jim’s daughter Brooke Eady has served as BSI president/partner since 2007.
“Some of my best days have been working with Shea and Locke, bringing venues online,” Jim says. “Some of my moments of great pride have been when my peers tell me what a great job my children are doing – and how they prefer to work with them rather than me,” he laughs. “And of course, that also includes Brooke; she runs the show.”
Eadys Onsite in Beijing: ‘Great Appreciation for This Moment’
Beijing marks Shea’s son Marshall’s first Olympic outing, although it came as a bit of a surprise. When a few BSI colleagues chose not to attend in Beijing, Marshall, who had been working full time at Honda but had seen production slowed by the global supply-chain issues, jumped at the opportunity to go to Beijing for three months.
“It seemed like a natural fit as Marshall had broadcast experience and worked with BSI previously,” says Shea. “And what 22-year-old would pass up a big opportunity like this? When we finally all got together at the IBC in Beijing and had lunch together for the first time, the special nature of this gathering became very apparent to us, and we felt a great appreciation for this moment.”
“I’m pretty sure,” he continues, “at 48 years old, I have the most Olympics for my age, starting back in ’94 in Lillehammer. So to see my son begin and experience that legacy was very fulfilling, and I feel it has brought us closer. I think Marshall now knows more about his family and what we do, and he can relate better to the Olympics stories he heard growing up.”
Marshall notes that he feels a responsibility to uphold the reputation of the earlier Eady generations, as well as “to put in the work, try to get it right the first time, but be ready and able to take some criticism and learn to make it right if that goal wasn’t reached.”
Jim’s Swan Song: Calling It a Career After More Than Five Decades
Shea says his father set the tone for the family by being a good example during his entire career. Jim’s strong work ethic and willingness to put in as much effort as required to ensure success were key, but Shea learned invaluable lessons by watching how well Jim was able to connect with people, make an impression, and always remember names.
“Everywhere I go and work,” Shea says, “it has been a regular occurrence that people always know who Jim Eady is and the positive response and respect given in those interactions, which in turn allows me to start off on the right foot with those individuals. Many of them have fun and interesting anecdotes, which is a reminder that those relationships are part of the business’s success and the trust people put in us, and it’s the younger Eadys’ job to carry that same energy into the future.”
Planning to retire at the end of the year, Jim has a crammed calendar before then. With the BBC setup completed in Beijing during the opening week of the Games, he headed to L.A. for Super Bowl LVI last Sunday and is now on to the NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland this weekend. He’ll also work the Commonwealth Games this summer and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year before officially retiring.
“I want to be in Paris [for the 2024 Summer Games],” Jim says, “but happy to drink wine, watch as a spectator, and get out of the way of a really great generation of Olympic-quality broadcasters. Who knows how many of the five Eady grandchildren will be there!”