NBA Entertainment Takes Over In-Arena Video-Board Production at Draft

Last night’s NBA Draft at the Barclays Center marked a reawakening of sorts for NBA Entertainment, which produced its own in-house video-board show at the Draft for the first time in 13 years. Prior to Madison Square Garden’s takeover of the Draft from 2001 to 2010, NBA Entertainment was responsible for creating the live in-arena video-board production as the Draft traveled to a new city each year. Thursday night in Brooklyn, this tradition was renewed, creating a wave of nostalgia for NBA Entertainment veteran Kevin Dobstaff, who worked nearly all of those NBA-produced in-arena shows throughout the ’90s.

Dobstaff

Kevin Dobstaff, SVP, Live Programming and Entertainment, NBA Entertainment, on the iconic NBA Draft set, which has been used at every Draft since 2001.

“It’s been interesting for me personally because it’s kind of like everything old is new again,” Dobstaff, the SVP of Live Programming and Entertainment, said just before the Draft began. “There is plenty of knowledge that I can draw from all my experiences in the ’90s, but this is really a very different kind of [production]. There have been a few hiccups but we’ve gotten through them and it’s really been great.”

The Benefits of Barclays
NBA Entertainment took over the newly minted Barclays Center control room to produce its show and utilized the arena’s sizeable production staff and A/V infrastructure. All but one of the cameras used during the NBA Entertainment show were in-house Barclays cameras. The remaining camera, supplied by MB Productions, provided a high-angle with a longer lens to capture close-up fan reactions in the stands.

“Being at Barclays has really been great and the people have been amazingly accommodating,” said Dobstaff. “[The venue] has been through an entire year of NBA Basketball at this point so it’s not like it’s in its infancy anymore. It’s really just a great facility to be at.”

VideoBoardNBA Entertainment also took several feeds from ESPN’s show, including the on-air program, the wireless RF shot of players taking the stage, and the main podium camera. In addition, ESPN also provided its library of draftee highlight packages.

“Between NBA Entertainment, NBA Digital, the Barclays Center, and ESPN, we have a lot of synergy here, which you have to do at an event like this,” said Dobstaff. “I think I’m kind of the traffic cop in the middle of all that. I’m working closely with ESPN to make sure that both our shows run well, that our audio isn’t to loud to overpower their telecast, and that we are getting everything we need on our end.”

Catering to the In-House Fans
The primary motivation behind NBA Entertainment taking the in-arena production back in-house was to create a more interactive experience for fans in attendance at the Draft – similar to the interstitial entertainment segments at NBA games.

With that in mind, the video-board presentation incorporated a variety of trivia questions, free giveaways, text-based voting, and social media elements. The Brooklyn Nets also lent NBA Entertainment their in-game entertainers for the Draft, including their BrooklynKnight mascot, Brooklynettes dance team, and team DJ – J.Period.

NBATVset

The NBA TV set at Barclays Center, which was used for NBA TV’s preview show and NBA Entertainment’s in-arena video-board production.

In addition, NBA Entertainment borrowed a set and a pair of on-air talent (Matt Devlin and Dennis Scott) from NBA TV (operated by Turner Sports) to serve as the hosts for the in-arena show. The NBA TV set was brought out straight from the NBA Finals and used earlier in the day for its own Draft Preview show.

“During the [ESPN] broadcast, they are not focused on the live audience here and we wanted to give those fans a better experience,” said Dobstaff. “We are hoping to bring a little bit of a different energy and vibe to the room.”