This summer, JHE earned a new opportunity with FOX Sports 1. “America’s New 24 Hour Sports Network” enlisted JHE to create a fan-centered display to travel to college football games throughout the season to promote the new network. I was excited (and also a bit nervous) to take on the new challenge of managing the operation.
Moving from the special events department, the basics of producing each event were pretty similar. However, my first project in the experiential department did bring a few new challenges. Previously, it was rare to have back-to-back-to-back events. With FOX Sports 1, I am traveling almost every weekend, which has its perks – aka lots of airline miles and hotel points! Instead of ordering décor items like floral and linens, I’m now thinking about generator and lull rentals each week. It’s definitely been a learning experience!
The biggest learning curve for the team has been the unique nature of this mobile tour. With similar projects in the NASCAR world, the footprint is very consistent week-to-week, and we know the schedule well in advance which makes planning much easier. Traveling to college campuses, the footprint is different every week. We’ve dealt with grass, dirt, AstroTurf, trees, water fountains, and even foul balls outside Oregon’s baseball stadium. The schedule is also rarely solidified until a week or two prior to the event date.
However, it didn’t take long for us to adapt and create an efficient system. Every week, our crew arrives on-site, compares the rendering of the layout to what we are working with, and they get started. The guys really have it down to a science; every crew member has similar responsibilities within the display each week, so they’ve become incredibly efficient.
Once the fans have arrived and the live hits are done, I love watching the interactions within the display. As a huge Big Ten football fan, I’ve enjoyed seeing the differences in fan culture from region to region. I’ve seen logoed rain gear at University of Washington and OU-embroidered cowboy boots at University of Oklahoma. I’ve also seen some really impressive tailgates (that I wish I could take part in!).
Working with the FOX College Saturday Tour has been an incredible experience. The project is right in JHE’s wheelhouse which made our team the perfect fit to adapt to the changing conditions each week. I truly believe there is no company better fit to execute this challenge.