ESPN innovation lab opens at Wide World of Sports
The ESPN Innovation Lab officially opened its doors at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The facility will provide a real-world testing ground for development of new ground-breaking, on-air products.
Mickey Mouse joins Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises, at the Walt Disney World Resort, to celebrate the opening of the ESPN Innovation Lab.
The mission of ESPN’s state-of-the-art facility is to enhance the viewer’s experience by utilizing the world-class playing fields at the resort, and the 250,000 youth and pro athletes who use them annually to develop new products during actual game conditions.
This working research facility also will be open at certain times of the year for visitors to view the Company’s Emerging Technology staff at work and get a sneak peek of upcoming technological advancements.
«The ESPN Innovation Lab is an extension of ESPN’s commitment to being a leader in technology,» said Chuck Pagano, executive vice president, technology, ESPN. «This cutting-edge production house will foster creativity and the development of new tools to provide fans the best on-air coverage of sporting events.»
Jesse Palmer, an ESPN college football analyst, watches a virtual interview of himself and Chuck Pagano, executive vice president of Technology for ESPN.
This past summer, the lab produced two innovative production elements, Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom. Ball Track is a Doppler radar hit-tracking system that has the ability to track home runs showing the distance and height of the ball in-flight, updating continuously during the ball’s flight. It debuted on the 2009 «MLB Home Run Derby» telecast on July 13.
ESPN Snap Zoom debuted on «Monday Night Football» on Sept. 28 and is a freeze-frame technology that brings the fan closer to the play by zooming in an area of interest and providing insight to a current action on the field, thus giving the viewer a different view on a particular focus of play.
Christopher Pond, ESPN Emerging Technology engineer, demonstrates the ESPN Snap Zoom technology.
It is the first major piece of a re-imagining project involving ESPN and the Disney sports complex. The project aims to create an immersive and entertaining sports experience for athletes, coaches and fans by incorporating the signature elements of ESPN in ways that will connect athletes and coaches with their favorite ESPN programs, personalities and elements. The project is expected to be completed early next year and will provide a one-of-a-kind experience that athletes, coaches and fans can’t get anywhere else except Walt Disney World Resort.
«The versatility of the complex and the enormous diversity of sports events we have there make it the perfect place for ESPN or any company to develop and test their latest product innovations,» said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. «We are thrilled to provide our athletes and coaches with the opportunity to potentially be a part of the development of ESPN’s newest and most exciting on-air products. It’s just one of the many ways this ESPN re-imagining project will help take our youth sports experience to a new level.»