Plans call for increased entertainment when season returns after Olympics break
After a year filled with calls for gender and race equity, it’s time to celebrate the 25th season of the WNBA. Similar to At the ball stage, On the grill, On hardwood, At the ice rink, and In the field, SVG’s In the W shines a light on the efforts, technology solutions, and creative ideas of a handful of the league’s production teams.
The 2021 season for the Dallas Wings has started off pretty well, with the team securing three of the top five picks in the WNBA Draft on April 15. With a new set of players, the organization is looking to turn a new leaf after the “Wubble” 2020. Currently on Olympic break, Director, Game Presentation & Live Events, Caitlin Hartley looks back on his first 10 games at the helm of on-site productions at College Park Center.
“It’s been fun and really rewarding to be able to run games again,” she says. “I missed that last season, and it’s been nice to have that feeling back.”
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Brainstorming Ideas: Team Plans for Upcoming Home Shows
Ahead of the first official home game against the Seattle Storm on May 22, Hartley and his company took advantage of the offseason to prepare for the current campaign. There were a lot of unknowns going into the season, but, to put everyone on the same page and develop a strategy that would work either for a large crowd of fans or for a small gathering, the team went ahead. is gathered and reflected.
“We planned scenarios without fans, for 30% capacity, 50% capacity, etc.,” she says. “Regarding safety protocols, I was reaching out to other professional and college sports teams to find out what they were doing and what was working for them.”
After the series ended, the team started running and executed the ideas throughout the team’s lone preseason game, against the Connecticut Sun. The melee was closed to the general public, allowing the team to mix and match elements of the show to see what worked best.
“The game was added to the schedule at the very last second,” notes Hartley, “but it was the perfect repeat. We brought everything [our] the team, our hosts in the game and our DJ and treated it like a real game which was extremely helpful.
COVID-Era Productions: pre-recorded content, player features filling out the video board
Like many organizations in the league, the Wings operate their video board for most of the content. Recorded segments, player characteristics, and other video content were the staple content of the first part of the program, but recently fans have become a part of the Wings’ show, with field shooting competitions and shooting contests. other forms of in-house entertainment.
“We have a High-Five Cam with a split screen and two cameras trying to find fans in the crowd,” says Hartley. “Although [our shooting competition] was a one-person promotion, it was always cool because the player was the one against the competitor. We are trying to find different ways to show the personality of the players and [entertain] Fans. ”
Although the shows go off without major issues, Hartley is conducting the show from an unusual location. Continuing to adhere to security protocols and a prioritization system, she works from a court-side position and relies on the University of Texas Arlington production team inside the control room. .
“Since we’re on the UT Arlington campus, they hire their own staff and create their own protocols that we have to follow,” says Hartley. “With only a certain number of people allowed in the control room, I put down the scripts, go back to my seat, put on my helmet and do the entire course from the court on a monitor. “
Given the circumstances, she works with people she has never met in person. Even so, constant communication and complete trust in each other has been the key to their success.
Those who did: kudos to the Dallas Wings production team
In his second year with the team, Hartley continues to learn valuable lessons from his first WNBA productions in person. A former pro in live production at Stanford University, she is still looking for her way in professional sports. Supported by people within the organization, such as Vice-President, Marketing, Courtney Oversby – and place – like Director, Production Services, Special Event Facilities, Caleb Miller “Hartley is more and more comfortable in his role.
“It’s great to be part of this team,” she said. “We all worked on [this season] together.”
The Dallas Wings will host the Connecticut Sun at College Park Center on Sunday, August 15 at 4 p.m. ET.