Bodenheimer, ESPN Officially Open L.A. Production Center

By Debra Kaufman

ESPN unveiled its Los Angeles Production Center (ESPN LAPC) today, with George Bodenheimer, ESPN president and ABC Sports co-chair, cutting the proverbial ribbon.

The greater capacity of the Los Angeles Production Center, which ESPN is still growing into, will enable an expansion of programming, said Bodenheimer. “We can formulate different programming, such as more focused on the Latino community,” he said. “This will be a base for developing new programming.”

ESPN SportsCenter will be generated from this new facility Monday through Friday at 10am PT/1am ET. The new production facility is also based on 1080p HD, which, says ESPN, makes LAPC “the first 1080P facility in the world.”

The new five-story production facility is directly across from STAPLES Center and part of the L.A. LIVE development, a 5.6-million square foot collection of hotels, clubs, theaters and restaurants. AEG president Tim Leiweke, whose company owns or controls numerous sports centers including STAPLES Center, celebrated ESPN’s beachhead on the West Coast. “To get a major broadcaster here is a crown jewel for downtown Los Angeles,” he said. “Everything we’ve done with ESPN is first class, from the X-Games to the ESPYs. We’re over the moon to see this happen.”

Bodenheimer noted that the opening of the ESPN L.A. Production Center is almost concurrent with the company’s 30th anniversary. “It’s the culmination of years of hard work and part of the evolution of our company,” he said. Groundbreaking on the facility took place in September 2005.

The facility currently inhabits a little more than two floors, includes two studios, at 4,500 square feet and 7,500 square feet. LAPC also features three production control rooms, two master control rooms, one newsroom/screening area, and eight edit suites, much of it equipped with Quantel gear. “The workflow is identical to what we’re doing in Bristol,” said Judi Cordray, VP of ESPN’s L.A. Production Center.

Integration with Bristol and other Disney Media companies is key. Just as Bristol features a fiber ring connecting the Bristol studio with New York and other nearby venues, so the Los Angeles facility’s fiber ring connects it with ESPN 710 Radio and other Disney properties in the area. “Enterprise-wide connectivity is the main emphasis,” said John Pannaman, senior director, engineering and technology.