BY ERINN CASEY | Ball State Sports Link
As I entered in to my freshman year at Ball State, I had no experience in sports production. Better yet, I knew nothing about the sports production world. I simply had a love of sports and an interest in the media, and I used that interest as motivation to get myself involved in Sports Link from day one on campus.
I spent the remainder of my freshman year going 100 miles an hour, learning from those around me and diving into the Sports Link experience.
By the time spring rolled around, I already had, what I thought was, a somewhat impressive skill set on my résumé, especially for someone who had never been previously exposed to sports production.
I wanted so badly to continue my education over the summer as an intern in the industry, especially since I live so close to Chicago. I applied for many internships, but never got any calls or emails back.
So, I spent my summer working a mundane job at my local Dunkin Donuts. I went from going 100 miles an hour in Sports Link to a screeching halt. I felt I was falling behind knowing the sports production world was going on around me and I wasn’t able to build off what I had learned in my freshman year.
That’s why come sophomore year, I made sure to get my internship applications out early and—more importantly—followed up with emails.
As April rolled around, I still hadn’t gotten any feedback from my applications. I was starting to worry I’d be stuck again this summer, until I received an email from an associate producer at Comcast Sportsnet Chicago asking to set up a phone interview.
I was over the moon, just to even have the opportunity to interview for a position at one of the largest regional sports networks in the country.
The interview went smoothly and I found out a week later I had landed the position as a news intern. I was ecstatic to be interning with the network I had grow up watching Chicago sports on. It didn’t seem real.
Fast-forward one month, and I began my internship with CSN. I worked two days per week from 4-11 p.m. One of the main duties I had was to run the teleprompter for the White Sox and Cubs’ pre and post game shows, as well as the nightly studio shows. I sat in the control room and watched the shows unfold behind the scenes.
During the downtime I had between shows, we had free reign to shadow various positions and ask questions. I spent a lot of my time in the graphics department and picked up some Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator skills, building on the skill set I already had.
I was able to sit down with and bounce ideas off the coordinating producer, with my growing interest in producing. I was able to write down some of his tips, as well as compare the differences and similarities between studio and live remote production.
One of my favorite challenges was taking the roll of an associate producer and sitting in with one of the editors to make a two-minute MLB All-Star Game highlight package, including writing the voice-over script.
In the two-minute package, I was to tell the story of the game, while including the Chicago All-Stars for a hometown angle. We first laid out the shots I wanted, and then I went back and wrote the voice-over. I was proud of the final product and received good feedback and critique on it.
I was also able to go out on two field assignments: a Chicago White Sox game and the Blackhawks Fan Convention.
At the White Sox game, I shadowed the field reporter and camera man during their pregame duties. Setting up the pregame show and walking around on the field was a moment to remember.
The White Sox and Cubs had just completed the huge trade sending Jose Quintana to the Northside in exchange for three of baseball’s top prospects.
I stood just 10 feet from the White Sox GM, Rick Hahn, as he was interviewed by the talent describing how the trade had come together.
That night, the post game show happened to be at the field, so I was able to go into the production truck with the producer to see the show from behind the scenes.
One of the most exciting days of my internship was the Rocket League Midwest Regional that CSN Chicago hosted. The eSports tournament was the first of its kind for CSN and NBC Universal.
On the day of the tournament, I assisted the Booking Manager and helped things run smoothly behind the scenes. Without a doubt, eSports is rising in the sports production industry and I was excited to experience it first-hand.
Overall, the CSN studio was a familiar atmosphere for me because of my experience with Sports Link’s live remotes. I felt prepared knowing that so much of what we are taught in Sports Link is the industry standard.
I was able to expand my skill set because of the base line knowledge I had going into the experience, and I am forever thankful for that.
Although it was tough to leave the studio on my last day, I look forward to bringing what I learned back with me to Ball State. I am so thankful to all of the professionals at Comcast SportsNet who were so kind and helpful to us interns, and I look forward to keeping in touch with them from here on out.
Looking back on my summer, I know this summer I was able to continue my education at 100 miles an hour, and I can’t wait to pick up speed going into my junior year in Sports Link.