The sports network unveils its flagship Digital Center-2 on June 22nd, which takes up 94,000 square feet with five studios and 25,000 square feet of production space, and has been called "the most technologically advanced studio in the U.S."
DC-2 has two separate studios -- 6,200 square foot Studio X and 3,500 square foot Studio XA -- divided by a giant glass wall so that hosts can rehearse during filming.
The set is like a light box that changes color, depending on time of day, mood or the teams being reported on. "We finally have a studio that was built for a 24/7 show," explained ESPN’s vp, director of news Craig Bengtson.
There is a touchscreen that can separate into six different monitors, with a "catwalk" in front of it that analysts can walk down, "Someone has already fallen off!" said SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy. "These are all things we have been trying to work out but it adds to the intrigue of the opening night."
Social Media Studio
A social media studio offers space to take guests to do longer form interviews to stream out. "Social media and the SportsCenter app will be part of the show on a daily basis," explained Craig Bengtson, adding: "What is happening on the Twitter space will be a part of the show, and we are going to find a way that it drives the conversation in those places."
There is a grand total of 114 monitors in DC-2, and a 56 LED multidimensional monitor wall that can air live and preproduced segments simultaneously. "It is going to be a dramatic change for viewers," explained Bengtson.
DC-2 includes a platform that can be raised up from the floor and have desks and chairs added, or be used as a standup area for talent. "We are going to all over the place and the place is massive," explained Steve Levy.
The virtual touchscreens allow hosts to interact with the audience by highlighting athletes, plays, or analyzing the action, such as during the World Cup in Brazil. Timing the launch during the global soccer tournament was "purely coincidental, we broke ground seven years ago," explained Steve Levy.
Along with the cameras on the studio floor, a JITA cam (a jib in the air) attached to the ceiling from a nine-foot arm on a circular track 20 feet in diameter to swoop down and capture a 360 degree view of the studio.
A SkyDeck wire-tension grid system allowing operators to adjust lights and reposition fixtures during a live show. "It is going to a dramatic change in terms of how viewers consume SportsCenter and how we present news in a better way," explained Craig Bengtson.
The monitor wall can either show one main image or be split into different ones thanks to 56 LED multidimensional screens.
"We are going to use the SportsCenter app on the touchscreen so that we can bring it to life on the set and across these enormous video walls," explained Craig Bengtson. "The set changes how we communicate with those people in every way."