It’s almost game time! We loaded up the kids, drove to the arena, grabbed a few Dr. Peppers, a little concession stand food, and settled into our seats right in time for pre-game to get rolling.
Perfect timing as the Texas Legends players are warming up on the court and the buzzer blares to set the series of events into motion. The national anthem is one my favorites, while the player introductions and pumping music get the kids pumped for tip-off.
Rewind a week and a half. Little do you realize that’s when the team behind the team starts crafting the game day experience.
While the coaches, players, and trainers work on putting points on the board, there’s another team putting all the details of a successful home game day into motion. We’re pulling back the curtain to take a look inside the production crew’s countdown to tip-off.
Countdown To Tip-Off
Texas Legends Vice President of Digital Media & Broadcast Production, Kyle Judkins, explains how his team fits into what you see at a game.
I’m 100% behind the scenes, and I’m cool with that. Our job is to make sure everything works the right way. We’re here to support the team, the sales staff, and create media.
For eight years, nearly as long as the Legends have been playing in Frisco, Kyle Judkins has been working scripts, graphics, and so much more to ensure an entertaining basketball product is presented and enjoyed by fans and sponsors alike.
Thinking Ahead on Jerseys and Video Animation
Let’s start with the what you see, literally… the team jerseys. Texas Legends dons 24 different jerseys throughout a basketball season.
Kyle, along with Byron Bogar, Legends Assistant General Manager, is responsible for the design artwork for jerseys. It takes anywhere from six months to three weeks before each game for the jersey design to be created and finalized.
Ensuring correct/updated roster names, jersey numbers, and sizes have to be accounted for, but you’ll notice in Frisco, the NBA G-league affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks, a chosen charity or sponsor is incorporated into the unique Texas Legends jersey design. It’s part of what makes the Legends stand out, their ability to pull the community into something as specific as the home jersey each and every game.
Your trusty game program will be there to fill you in on rosters, events, business partners, and advertisements. Program details are compiled about a week out from each game and are off to the printer and ready for the fans.
That helpful video board that welcomes you as you enter the arena doesn’t happen on its own either. About three days ahead of you arriving, the animations showing the charity name and logo, opposing team details, and entertaining welcome messages are completed by the Digital Media and Broadcast Production team.
Let the Game Day Checklist Begin
Fast forward to game day. I’m probably shuffling the kids off the school and starting my work day, but meanwhile, at 8am, the Texas Legends staff is already working on the hundreds of details you haven’t even thought of yet today.
Kyle runs through a checklist of about 100 tasks. Call-in for statistics check with the NBA – check. Baskets are up, the court itself is down – check. Game clock is good to go – check. Scores table powered up and statistics equipment online and ready for the action – check.
Operations activity is in full swing and the broadcast team is set up all before the 10am game production meeting, and I’m just getting my coffee refill for the day.
The Legends and the visiting team hit the court for practice. The production team settles into a meeting to review everything that will happen on the court except for the actual basketball game.
The camera crew needs to coordinate to be ready to capture it all, from the Ewing Buick GMC Shot Contest, the on-court charity presentation, the timeout performances and activities, and even the surprises that have been known to pop up, like someone “popping THE question” at center court.
Get the official television on and off court time details – check. Arena Audio/Video Coordinator uploads all the graphics – check. Finalize the entire script of happenings and PA announcements line by line that includes everything from the time the doors open to the final post-game autograph and selfie has been taken – check.
Four hours before tip-off, Texas Legends President and General Manager, Malcolm Farmer, holds an all-staff meeting, and you better believe the checklist is working like a fine-tuned machine.
Checking their list to make sure sponsor tables are set, valet services are good to go, Tech Sideline by Raytheon is ready to please, Kid Zone is pumped and stocked with activities, the Transworld Owners Club is set for guests, and many more details all aimed at giving the fans a memorable experience with the Legends.
Next up on the agenda – performers and groups complete a sound check. The crew wants to make sure you enjoy the National Anthem, God Bless America, Prime Time Performances, and the before-the-game and halftime performances loud and clear.
It’s one hour before game time, and that means the doors are open to fans anxiously waiting to scan their tickets and get in on the action.
Like clockwork, pre-game public address announcements and videos start to roll 43 minutes before game time. Then it’s Prime Time pre-game and the players take the court for warm-ups.
Eight minutes before game time the clock hits zero, and the buzzer signals that it’s time for the National Anthem, God Bless America, and then the PA announcer amps up the home crowd with player introductions.
Let the Game Begin
The only thing left to do is hit the small window of time for the tip-off to happen on schedule. The Legends team is efficient and accurate. They’re making it happen on time 100% of the time for 7:02 tip-offs this season.
Byron Bogar helps orchestrate that timely ball tip by working the crowd for just the right amount of time needed. They are usually working with a whopping minute and a half of buffer time built in for pre-game scripts to stay on time with radio, tv, and league directives.
All this and the game’s only just begun. You’ll see performances, presentations, videos, sponsor announcements, and constant entertainment even during the game all brought to you with the help of the digital broadcast team and Legends staff.
And, just like those game programs created several days in advance helping you spot your favorite players after that breakaway, you’ll also get a spiffy autograph card. After the final buzzer, fans get to go on the court and get pictures and autographs with Texas Legends players, the Legends dancers, and the Mavs ManiAACs.
We gather the kids, check out the autographs everyone scored, and make our way out of the arena until next time, but the staff and crew who started their checklist that day at 8am have a few more items to complete before closing the books on that night’s game.
Over the next day, videos are uploaded to TexLegends.com, group performance videos are sent out, and reports are tallied and submitted for advertising, merchandise, and ticket sales. Then, they can put that game behind them and begin working on making the next home game just as awesome.
Back-to-back home games might have your head spinning with the overlapping of to-dos. But the overlap is normal, it’s part of the ebb-and-flow of producing entertainment 24 or more times each season for their loyal fans in Frisco.
Kyle Judkins says the Legends are proud to produce such a robust finished product within their own digital and broadcast team.
Everything gets produced in-house. We pride ourselves on it. Website, sign up forms, and t-shirts for camps, graphics, emails, even the actual season tickets are all designed in-house. It never stops. We wrap up the season, close the books on it, then we start prepping content again in May.
For this production team, it’s a never-ending stream of promotions, graphics, animation, jerseys, and videos. You might not be thinking about basketball in June, but they sure are… All to give you the best experience possible on any given game day from November through March right here in Frisco!