ESPN’s NBA bubble broadcasts are an Olympian effort

Broadcasting the NBA postseason amid an ongoing pandemic is akin to airing an Olympics telecast, participants said. Several experiments have already found favor with the viewing public.



August 26, 2020 - 8:23 AM

NBA executive Steve Hellmuth watches three feeds of an Aug. 5 game from Disney World's Wide World of Sports Complex. Photo by Andrew Greif / Los Angeles Times / TNS

ORLANDO, Fla. — LeBron James had just exited a Mickey Mouse-decorated bus last week when the superstar’s arrival for that night’s Lakers game was spotted by Camera 50, one of the nearly 100 remote-operated cameras stationed around Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

A half-mile away in a humid parking lot, James’ stone-faced entrance at HP Field House was registered by Mike Schwab, a television director scanning a wall of glowing, shoebox-sized feeds inside a 53-foot ESPN production truck. He could not linger on the image for long.

Surrounded by a producer, audio engineer, associate director and technician, Schwab was directing an afternoon game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz. With more than a minute to play before halftime, Jazz center Rudy Gobert had begun looping behind the defense for an alley-oop.

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