Storrs, Connecticut – Overnight the remote truck ahd been moved form the UConn Fieldhouse to nearby Gardner Dow Field for the ECAC playoff match between UConn and Rhode Island. This proved more difficult than basketball. It was outdoors instead of indoors in a controlled environment and our camera locations were poor and no one working the game had ever televised or broadcast soccer before.
Nevertheless, we had produced and delivered a basketball game and a soccer match to the cable world in just a sixteen hour time span from two different locations on the UConn campus. While the polish and high-quality of today were lacking, we attracted enough interest at the local cable level to receive a few calls asking for more.
The cable press also made fleeting (but, to us, extremely important) note of our debut.
More importantly, the Bristol Redevelopment Authority and RCA Americom were impressed with the effort.
Enthusiasm was high, everyone involved was exhausted, but excited, and without hesitation, we roared ahead with plans to do more demo events with UConn after the first of the year.
Storrs, Connecticut – Here we go!!! Peter Fox put together a pregame package. Lou Palmer was ready to go with his play-by-play. Guest announcer to work with Palmer was long-time WTIC Sports Director and Connecticut radio legend, Arnold Dean. Lou and Arnold were both fixtures on the Hartford 50,000 watt powerhouse station.
Scott and Ed worked right up to game time calling cable systems and asking them to carry the exhibition basketball game between UConn and Athletes in Action so that they could see what was coming to cable TV.. We have no idea how many systems might have actually carried the event, but we did discover that many system managers watched the feed in their office. Enough managers did show the game to produce a gratifying – albeit meager – viewer response.
At halftime, Arnold interviewed both John Toner and me. While viewers might have wondered about the glowing future we predicted for the E. S. P. Network in particular, and cable TV in general, we now know that we probably understated the potential.
It was only an exhibition game for the UConn Huskies and, in truth, it wasn’t much of a game. However, unknown to them at the time, a few systems and some viewers scattered around the USA witnessed the first images of what has become the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
Posted in Birth of ESPN, Early Months, Excitement builds
Tagged Arnold_Dean, Athletes_in_Action, E.S.P._Network, John_Toner, Lou_Palmer, Peter_Fox, Storrs, UConn, WTIC
Plainville, Connecticut – With the “demo events” events on the immediate horizon (just 2 days away), Lou Palmer, who carried the title of Director of Programming, and Peter Fox, our first Executive Producer, officially went on the payroll November 15. Employee # 6, Bob Ronstrom, wasn’t officially on the payroll until December 1, 1978, but he was already working with Scott and JB Doherty putting budgets and projections together.
Lou and Peter took charge of production details for our “demo weekend” and even with the very short time available, they pulled it off as you’ll see in future posts.
Ed was keeping the Bristol Redevelopment Authority up to date as well as recruiting cable systems to carry our upcoming events.
I was calling NCAA TV Committee members and by the weekend, all six of us were immersed in the UConn “demo events.”