American Express – Why broadcasting the 2020 U.S. Girls’s Open brings distinctive challenges
Tommy Roy, like many different nice tv producers, is a person of appreciable mettle. Within the final 12 months, NBC’s 29-time Emmy Award-winning lead golf producer has deftly carried out his high-wire tv act regardless of cancellations, pandemic restrictions and a cloud of thick, white fog on the U.S. Amateur.
Roy, like many different nice tv producers, can also be a person of appreciable metallic. He speaks in brass tacks, guidelines with an iron fist and sure, even has a bladder of metal.
“The biggest challenge is you can’t go to the bathroom,” Roy says with fun. “You gotta stay there. There’s no commercial break you can get up and leave. So you’ve got to limit your liquid intake before you go on the air.”
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Roy is talking of this week’s U.S. Girls’s Open, the place he’s getting ready to air giant blocks of commercial-free golf from Champions Golf Membership, in Houston.
It’s the third time in as a few years the Girls’s Open will undertake a quasi-commercial-free format, however the first with Roy on the helm. NBC snatched up the USGA’s broadcast rights in a shrewd take care of Fox in June, and the promoting construction got here with it. That’s nice information for golf followers, for the USGA and for Rolex (the sponsor that financed the association).
It’s not nice information for Roy and the remainder of the manufacturing group, whose valuable few alternatives for a loo break normally depend on industrial stoppages.
“We’re used to it,” he mentioned. “When I’m in a typical stroke-play event and I need to use the bathroom and we hit a commercial, I can. That’s the one thing that’s different about golf than producing a football, baseball, basketball game — they stop playing when you go to commercial. In golf, they never stop playing.”
The industrial conundrum is just one of many manufacturing challenges going through Roy and his group in Houston. The opening rounds of the event shall be contested throughout two separate programs at Champions — Cypress Creek and Jackrabbit — with a view to make sure the completion of play earlier than sunset every day.
Whereas this wrinkle introduces an intriguing strategic factor to the event, it additionally means twice the work for NBC’s on-air expertise.
“I’ll be in a day early, or actually almost two days earlier, than what I would normally be on property just to get a feel for the two different golf courses, get a feel from players how they’re preparing differently for the week,” mentioned lead NBC analyst Paige Mackenzie. “It’ll be interesting from the broadcast side to see how we interplay the highlights from the one course as we’re broadcasting, you know, two at the same time.”
On the manufacturing aspect, Roy and his group have designated three LiveU items on the Jackrabbit course for Thursday and Friday. The trio of cameras, which function over cell-phone sign quite than radio frequency, will path key teams on the extra course over the opening two days. The crew will even have entry to its full arsenal of 30 or so cameras on the Cypress Creek course, which is able to host the ultimate 36 holes.
“The biggest thing is that golf is very expensive to do,” Roy mentioned. “You have to journalistically be able to cover what’s going on [at] that other golf course to keep people up to date on the leaderboard, but you have to do it in a fiscally responsible way.”
NBC added an extra director, a graphics operator and roughly a dozen extra technicians to deal with the additional motion. However even with reinforcements, the Jackrabbit course gives its personal set of challenges.
With solely three cameras on the second course, who ought to NBC observe throughout its 12.5 mixed hours of protection on Thursday and Friday? It’s a query with out an apparent reply.
“The complicated thing is, especially early on, what groups do you send the cameras with?” Roy mentioned. “You hope that someone gets off to a good start, especially on the other golf course, you hope that someone gets under par.”
This received’t be NBC’s first occasion with 36 simultaneous holes of motion. On the previous Bob Hope Desert Traditional (now referred to as the American Express), Roy and his crew had been typically tasked with masking 5 rounds throughout 4 completely different programs.
“Typically, a wave of players on the golf course is up to 70 players at a time,” Roy mentioned. “Well, now we’re doubling that. So we’re tracking that many more people at the same time. That’s obviously way more complicated, but it’s doable.”
Nonetheless, twice the motion and a fraction of the industrial time isn’t sufficient to purchase a distinct outlook for the week on the U.S. Girls’s Open. On this weird 12 months and underneath probably the most uncommon circumstances, the expectation stays the identical.
“[We’re] trying to show as many players as we can over the course of the two days, getting in as many golf shots as we can, and telling the story,” he mentioned. “Hopefully there’s some great excitement and shotmaking as well.”
Of that, there’s little question. Even in regular instances, dwell tv is a high-wire act and not using a internet, requiring manufacturing groups to successfully handle these issues which might be inside their management, together with these that aren’t.
“A actually profitable broadcast means no dangerous climate,” he laughed. “So, we’ll see.”
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