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ESPN West Broadcasts to Premiere Monday

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, April 02, 2009, at 02:22PM
Sportscenter, April 6 Eric Richardson [Flickr]

An electronic billboard on the south face of the new studio building at L.A. Live has advertised the upcoming start date for the last few weeks.

Sports giant ESPN will be taking a page out of the Hollywood playbook when it kicks off its late-night broadcasts from L.A. Live on Monday, pitching the new Sportscenter broadcasts as "West Coast Premiere Week."

The broadcast offers Downtown an opportunity to showcase itself to a national sports audience. Facility General Manager Judi Cordray told the channel's home town Bristol Press yesterday that the broadcasts will have a special L.A. feel to them. “SportsCenter is SportsCenter. It’s going to be business as usual,” said Cordray, but she added, “You will know that it’s being broadcast from Los Angeles.”

The broadcast will air live nightly at 10pm local time, 1am on the east coast. Anchors Neil Everett and Stan Verrett will be moving from Bristol to host the show, and commercials running this week have shown to two on a road trip making their way to their new L.A. home.

An article last week in Broadcasting & Cable focused on the technical build-out of ESPN's new West Coast studios.

To future-proof the L.A. operation against technology advances, ESPN has designed the facility to support the 1080-line-progressive-scan (1080p) HD format at 60 frames per second (fps), which ESPN and other networks believe they will eventually use to produce content. While 1080p is still in its nascent stages as a broadcast format and 1080p production equipment is sparse, ESPN has installed a 3-gigabit-per-second routing infrastructure in L.A. and is getting as much beta-stage production gear as it can, such as prototype 1080p cameras.

According to the article, ESPN has a pair of 10-gigabit links connecting its L.A. and Bristol facilities, allowing video content to be seamlessly shared between the two.

Though the link won't be up and running for Monday, diners at the ESPN Zone restaurant downstairs from the new studio will soon be able to take a peek at what's taking place on set via private feeds.

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