IBJNews

ESPN pleased with Pan Am Plaza broadcast decision

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The picturesque backdrop of Lucas Oil Stadium serves as an ideal Super Bowl setting for ESPN’s television and radio studio at Pan Am Plaza in downtown Indianapolis.

But the hundreds of spectators who have lined the paved courtyard this week to watch live broadcasts of the network’s “Mike and Mike In The Morning” radio show are oblivious to the amount of work it took to secure and prepare the location.

In hindsight, ESPN producers are pleased with their decision to drop stakes at the plaza, even if they initially preferred to be on the more visible Monument Circle.

It quickly became apparent, though, that logistics issues on the Circle would be too great to overcome, in terms of the street closings needed to accommodate the semitrailers of equipment.

An indoor site from which to broadcast the shows also topped the list of essentials, to safeguard against the cold and wet weather typical of Indianapolis winters. As luck would have it, that’s been a non-factor for ESPN’s secondary outdoor set kept plenty warm by three industrial-size heaters.

“We felt like this could be the epicenter of what’s going on here this week,” said Seth Markman, an ESPN senior coordinating producer, of the plaza. “We knew Indianapolis had the possibility of being really cold, but we’re really happy.”

temporary ESPN studio, IndianapolisESPN's Colin Cowherd gets ready to broadcast his show from the network's Pan Am Plaza studio. (IBJ Photo/Perry Reichanadter)

Two semitrailers were put together to serve as the studio. A large glass window that takes up most of the side of one of the trailers provides fans an opportunity to watch the shows. Cameras pointed at ESPN radio personalities and their guests also capture the stadium where Sunday’s Super Bowl will be played.

“It’s good for fan experience, and the view of the stadium behind us is something we’ve never had [in past Super Bowls],” Markman said.

The trailers sit atop large steel beams meant to give the studio additional support. The beams are necessary because the plaza in which the trailers are located is directly above an underground parking garage. Columns supporting the parking garage underneath give the steel beams above a place to rest.

Pan Am Plaza was closed for a couple of weeks in September after structural problems were found in the garage, but it reopened to pedestrian traffic in October after bracing was added. Special events are now being approved on a case-by-case basis until a complete restoration can be undertaken. 

ESPN called in a large crane to lift the trailers onto the support beams. At the time the network secured the site months ago, it had no idea of the additional work that would be required to get the set ready, said Michael Feinberg, the network’s coordinating director.

“We would have loved Monument Circle,” he said. “But we’ve never had a background to a stadium [for a Super Bowl].”

The “Mike and Mike” show began broadcasting from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the site on Monday and wrapped up on Friday. “The Herd With Colin Cowherd” radio show also is using the site.

And ESPN’s signature TV sports news show, “SportsCenter,” also is televising from the plaza.  

ESPN officials visited the city several times and worked closely with the Super Bowl Host Committee to choose a site from roughly a dozen suggestions from the committee.

Network officials already are working with host committee members of New Orleans, the site of next year’s Super Bowl, to nail down a broadcast site in the Big Easy.

As for Indianapolis, the turnout for the “Mike and Mike” morning show in the five weekdays leading up to the Super Bowl has been “as good as we’ve ever had,” co-host Mike Greenberg said.

He’s working his 13th Super Bowl for ESPN and his 16th overall, and thinks Indianapolis has proven it’s worthy of another chance to host the event.

“It’s been a terrific site,” Greenberg said. “There’s always going to be something about a warm-weather city, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t consider it again.” 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • I want to ice skate!
    It's really a shame Kite Reality, owners of the Pan Am building complex, kicked Indiana World Skating Academy off of both the ice rinks located at Pan Am Plaza solely in the interest of making more money.
    Indianapolis could have further distinguished themselves as being the first Super Bowl host city to have public ice skating going on right in the middle of a Super Bowl Village, further reinforcing our image of an amateur sports capital. If the lower rink had remained open, it would have been packed every day, all day long with visitors enjoying a good healthy winter time activity.
    It’s really too bad the Executive Director of Indiana World Skating Academy just rolled over and let this happen.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

ADVERTISEMENT