As one of the original NFL towns, Akron, Ohio was a part of the NFL’s kickoff to the 100th season. During the 2019 NFL Draft we were tasked with tackling the live draft pick announcement—a live remote from Lock 3 in Akron.
- Maintain a 3-hour family-friendly, fan fest-style atmosphere
- Utilize on-location videoboard to make an immersive and fun experience for all attendees
- Keep a tight, but flexible schedule that was easily adapted to the flow and timing of the draft
- Have landline manned and ready to take calls from NFL
- Make sure event looked good both in person for attendees and on camera during televised picks
- Coordinate with all stakeholders to ensure event ran smoothly
Being approached to provide live event capabilities for the NFL Draft in Akron created plenty of opportunities.
We kicked things off with the city and Lock 3 staff to discuss concepts for the event. This ranged from crowd interaction, event layout, video board visibility, inflatables, and much more. Once we helped with the coordination of the vendors and created the site map, we had a good idea of how to approach this event and capture the best footage during it.
The ask was to create a memorable one-of-a-kind event that showcased the city on a local level, but was shown on a national stage. This meant integrating our years of experience in sports entertainment to develop this fan fest-type event that felt natural, unique and tactful in terms of capturing footage.
The project was two-fold. First, we had to film a live event and be prepared to shoot at a moment’s notice. Second, we had to create a memorable video board show for those in attendance.
Lock 3 is a venue where lots of bands have performed, but this type of event isn’t a traditional event at this location. We used our expertise in live event work to work with the Lock 3 staff, providing input and suggestions to ensure we could make the event as dynamic as possible.
From scripts and promotions to production planning, we helped develop a clear scope of work for the city so that the event was well-received at both a local and national level.
In addition, the video board show we created kept the fans entertained, engaged and eager to cheer on the pick when it was time to go live with the footage. The branded elements and custom-fabricated materials also developed for the event helped enunciate the pride the city has for sports history.
The setup and the look of the event was so strong, the NFL Network kept coming to the Akron feed to do draft picks. In fact, one NFL Network employee remarked that the last 20 minutes of the draft felt like it was all about Akron – high praise of a city that hasn’t had a professional football team since 1927.
Being a Northeast Ohio location, announcing the Cleveland Browns round 6 pick was the highlight for the crowd. Mayor Dan Horrigan announced the pick and ABC actually took that pick nationally – so the pick announced from Lock 3 was shown live to the entire country on ABC affiliates.
The overall delivery and orchestration of this event was a massive team effort from all parties involved. From the city employees to the Lock 3 staff, our crew at the scene and the NFL’s cooperation, we found a way to stay organized, coordinated and inclusive of all decisions. We wanted to make sure everyone involved – from the vendors to the fans – felt happy, engaged and involved. Sure, it meant long hours, late nights, working overtime and being extremely flexible on-site – but it was worth going the extra yard to score such great footage and be involved with such a monumental anniversary.
In the end, collaborating with the Lock 3 staff and city of Akron gave fans something to cheer about and the history of Akron professional sports to once again take the national spotlight.