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Control room at ESPN HQ in Bristol, Conn. Courtesy: ESPN

After broadcasting games inside the NBA bubble, ESPN's production team jumped almost immediately into preparing for the 2020-21 season.

The state of play: While some games feature on-site announcers and production trucks, others require ESPN to produce the broadcast from hundreds of miles away. They call this the "Enhanced World Feed" (EWF) model.

How it works: The production team works out of ESPN's Bristol or Charlotte studios and takes the "clean feed" from the host team's Regional Sports Network and adds layers on top of it, like commentary and graphics.

What they're saying: "Normally, we're creating everything. But with this model, it's almost like we're working off someone else's draft and making adjustments," Mike Shiffman, ESPN's VP of production, tells me.

  • "Each RSN has a different setup and goals for its broadcast, so we meet ahead of time to discuss our needs and what they're able to do provide."
Mike Breen's setup in his Long Island home. Courtesy: ESPN

Announcers like Mike Breen have been calling games from home, where they're able to customize their setup to their liking.

  • "Do they want the game on a big monitor, or are they okay with that in a multi-box where they're also seeing their announcing partner, stats, and other stuff? It's up to them," says Shiffman.
Control room at ESPN HQ in Bristol, Connecticut. Courtesy: ESPN

Producers and directors are generally in one control room, while graphics and replay teams are in a separate room for social distancing reasons.

  • As for the stats person? "They're on Zoom," says Shiffman. Very relatable.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Jan 28, 2021 - Sports

The NBA battle for the "second screen" is almost as important as the game itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tonight's NBA doubleheader will be broadcast on TNT, which means the network will almost certainly draw more viewers than its competitors throughout the evening.

Yes, but: While the battle for the "first screen" (broadcast) has already been won, the battle for the "second screen" (social media) will happen in real-time.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 8 wounded

Police cars restrict access to Oxford High School following the shooting in Oxford, Michigan, on Tuesday. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old sophomore was arrested after a shooting at a Michigan high school that left three people dead and eight others wounded Wednesday, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

The latest: Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a briefing Tuesday night that the suspect's father had on Friday bought the 9mm Sig Sauer pistol investigators believe was used in the shooting at Oxford High School. Authorities released the names of the victims late Tuesday.

City Council member Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayoral race

Atlanta Mayor-elect Andre Dickens in Atlanta, Georgia, late Tuesday. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

City Council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta's next mayor, soundly beating the council's president Felicia Moore.

The big picture: Dickens was just a few months ago considered to have an outside chance of replacing Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who announced in May that she wouldn't seek a second term.