ESPN Forced To Adjust Due To Wintry Weather

By Marcus Vanderberg Comment

FORT WORTH – What does it take to put on a week-long, live radio and television broadcast from the Super Bowl?

Try 350 event staff, producers and content folks along with the ability to adjust on the fly.

And oh yeah, a heavy coat and a pair of gloves.

ESPN has called Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas home since Monday, airing more than 90 hours of Super Bowl-related programming on the ESPN family of networks and 55 hours of programming on ESPN Radio.

When the decision to broadcast outdoors from the downtown area, named after the Sundance Kid (Harry Longabaugh), was announced last July, nobody had snow on the brain.

But Mother Nature delivered a Peyton Manning-esque audible, delivering two winter storms that crippled the Dallas-Fort Worth area and forced ESPN to rethink their decision to broadcast outdoors.

“It was common sense,” said Mo Davenport, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Radio. “After a couple of days of cold mornings and talking with our talent, I said, ‘Is there a way for us to be better?’ We looked at the options and figured it out and moved inside for the rest of the week.”

Thanks to some quick work, ESPN was able to transform their green room into a makeshift studio for Mike & Mike in the Morning, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, and The Scott Van Pelt Show.

“We went into it like every Super Bowl, with this gigantic operation where you have sets and television trucks and this big footprint you plan for from six months to a year out,” Davenport added. “I’m not sure how much contingency planning went into it but you have to react to what the environment gives you. This is an environment like no other.”

Despite the six inches of snow overnight in the area, it was business as usual for the ESPN staff on Friday. While some guests, like Football Night in America analyst Tony Dungy, had to call in instead of sitting in studio with Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, some locals were able to brave the conditions.

Much to the delight of Colin Cowherd, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo made it to Sundance Square and sat down for the first time with the host of The Herd.

“Tony Romo was great, because I have never had Tony,” Cowherd said. “He’s one of the only guys that I’ve never had and wanted to. I’ve been critical of him. Players listen. They know.”

ESPN viewers haven’t held the weather conditions against the network, however.

“Everyone has obviously mentioned it and people could tell,” said Steve Braband, social media producer, who has been communicating with the fans via Twitter and Facebook. “Before they moved Mike and Mike in here, they were out there at 4:30 a.m. just shivering. They have been sympathizing with us.”