The Pat McAfee Show is the flagship program produced on the set
Each year, the host city turns into a melting pot of content creators for Super Bowl Radio Row. As the tide of legalized sports betting continues to grow, FanDuel occupies a large amount of real estate in the Los Angeles Convention Center. The sports betting giant enlisted the services of Devlin Design Group to create an eye-catching studio set for programs like The Pat McAfee Show and The first line.
“The brilliant collaboration with FanDuel, Freeman, our stage store and the lighting directors allowed us to pull a giant rabbit out of the hat execution,” says Dan Devlin, Owner/Chief Creative Strategist, Devlin Design Group. “Our team is honored to be a part of FanDuel’s Super Bowl LVI success.”
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From the drawing board to the convention hall: the team works with FanDuel on the first steps
With the whole changing presence of FanDuel at the biggest professional football game of the year, it’s important to understand the steps that led to the finished product. Prior to the end of the 2021-22 NFL regular season, Devlin Design Group was approached by FanDuel. After preliminary discussions in November to fulfill the role of overall design and scenic management, the company officially signed on board on December 5. With a relatively quick turnaround to begin the installation process on February 2 in Los Angeles, the final brainstorming phase was one of the toughest tasks to overcome.
“Because of the extremely tight schedule,” says Devlin, “the planning process was very difficult. The design, review, revision and approval timelines were very tight due to the production schedule. Typically, we would have six to eight months to prepare a show of this magnitude and visibility, but we did it in just over two months.
The shortened schedule affected preparations at the convention center. This particularly altered the schedule for Freeman, the building management team, which was responsible for the design, rigging and hire of the trusses and platform; AV design, rental and integration; electrical design and installation; and installation labor.
“Creatively, we had to rely on working within Freeman’s rental assets as a pool of design resources,” says Devlin. “With two major holidays and an early January load date, there wasn’t enough time to buy trusses, electronics, furniture, build rising rigs, and line up manpower. installation.”
External circumstances also played a role. Devlin Design Group had to develop an approach that effectively balanced FanDuel’s brands and its shows. Once a concept arrived, Devlin Design Group needed the NFL’s blessing and needed to host the interview-style shows that would call the decor home.
“Our team and FanDuel had to adopt a hip-shooting approach in the design-development process,” adds Devlin. “We made sure the layout accommodated one host and up to four guests and encouraged lively conversation. FanDuel wanted the set to be open and allow fans to enjoy live productions, so sightlines were very important.
The execution of the plan: the concept turns into a set of bricks and mortar
As operations moved to the west coast, the team on site faced its own set of constraints. Since other companies would be exhibiting their large-scale plans for the Super Bowl, the initial design had to come to life and fit in a 30 x 30 footer. footprint. Thanks to the work of Scenic Solutions, lighting direction by Remote Production Services’ Bill Holchevnikoffand lighting programming by Scott Webbthe pieces began to fit together.
“We started by designing the grid truss and platform infrastructure and considered technical broadcast requirements, weight loads, lighting, electronics and AV integration,” explains Devlin. “Finally, we dressed him up to give him the look FanDuel wanted us to give.”
Overall, FanDuel wanted the set to have an overwhelming presence in the convention hall. With the help of 35 55-in. monitors, the structure was able to highlight the different shows taking place on the stage.
“The visual branding of the set was done in large format prints, which covered the massive lattice structure needed for the lighting grid and display tech support,” he says. “FanDuel wanted to make sure fans could find their location from any point in the venue.”
A successful project and Outstanding Achievement
With full programming — The Early Line, The Morning After, Pat McAfee Show, Hammer Dahn, More Ways to Win, and other forms of social media content – FanDuel entertained a packed convention center and listeners from around the world. Despite the long nights that accompanied the development of the idea and the long hours it took to bring it to life, the physical set has captured the attention of people who have used it.
“FanDuel and its broadcast partners are thrilled with the outcome,” says Devlin. “In all areas, on every show, the guests and talent have been extremely gracious and complementary to what we’ve done for FanDuel.”
Devlin Design Group has been involved in new construction and renovation projects across the industry, including a new set at the Tennis Channel facility in Santa Monica, CA. It’s proven itself, but being able to work on a set presented in the run-up to Super Bowl LVI is a remarkable achievement.
“Because we had our heads down and focused on getting this project done,” Devlin says, “honestly, we haven’t given much thought to working the Super Bowl until now. The magnitude of it is just beginning to be felt.