Live Stream of a Fantasy Football Draft with Tony Romo

When Chaps called on us to produce a Facebook live stream fantasy football draft needless to say the Absolute Live Production team was excited. When we knew the project would feature former Dallas Cowboy superstar Tony Romo, it was game on! With less than two weeks to co-create and execute a live studio production, we knew we had our work cut out for us. But we were ready for the challenge. First we scouted and secured a studio location in Dallas. Then we recruited a home-based host deeply rooted in fantasy football and cast the contestants. Next, we produced client concept drawings with a dream board, and turned around some pretty quick approvals. Before heading to Texas our team remotely designed a multiset studio, fabricated a double pillared motion graphic LED Wall, built a backlit client logo practical and custom created a graphic package integrated throughout. This particular production was heavy on graphics as they were an integral part of the set design and largely supported the live stream. Our inhouse team pulled out all the stops first successfully being granted a special NFL Licensing agreement, accompanied by successfully arranging with permissions from the Associated Press for use of NFL photos, and then taking these assets and arranging a sequence for the live stream from opening to close.

With not a lot of time on our side, our crew flew to Dallas scouted locations and scoped out all of the necessary considerations and options for a successful live stream. What might typically take six to eight weeks to prepare was needing to take place in only twelve days. The pre-production meetings quickly unfolded from conceptual to actual with each player bringing in their area of expertise and contributing quickly to the vision. For the project to complete on time, there was only one way to move this forward and make it happen. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead with an attitude of getting it done and knowing there was only one way to the finish line.  

The first task to overcome was the physical location.  This would mean that we would need to take the first choice location of a  Dallas luxury hotel ballroom and build a complicated multi-faceted set within.  Luckily for the project, the clients stepped in and made the arrangements for us to be free from the restrictions of a hotel. They allotted budget and the freedom to secure a location that would be suitable for a fantasy football live stream that could support an interactive 10 person cast to act out the draft live. Fortunately, our in house producer was formerly from Dallas and knew of a perfect studio for this production.AMS Pictures complimented our vision for both production space and in house audio studio and control room that was state of the art.

With a few modifications to the existing set and our crew integrating with the studio team we collaborated, designed, and built a production set that made our Hollywood home pale in comparison.  With this well-equipped studio and the client’s ability to cooperate and turn around lightning-quick decisions and approvals the space evolved into a live production studio full of logos, lights, football props, and the “League of Chaps” was born!

We arranged for a car to drive from LA to Dallas to transport our control room and camera package to Dallas. For those who understand the core of a live streaming company, (translation: “No Interlaced video” unless necessary) this included our Newtek TriCaster TC1 with an NC1 and additional Sparks inputs 12 through 16. The Cameras of choice were the Canon C300’s, amazing in low-light, and a client pleaser with their consistent look and depth of field.  We traveled our custom-designed graphic system which allowed us to create and produce a professional Sports and Esports graphics with dynamic text. For this production, we had a total of 6 C300’s between the two sets with one on an automated slider and another on an 18’ foot Jimmy Jib. The remaining cameras were operated by our local Dallas based crew who merged with the AMS and ALP crew seamlessly and professionally.

We used team viewer and a gaming headset to direct the pre-production out of our Burbank office.  Although geographically spread out, the team was soon hard at work creating the run of show, set design and graphics elements. A very important piece of the puzzle was to find the 6 contestants that would join the show. We considered a cast of actors however that felt a little forced. We decided we wanted actual fantasy football enthusiasts. We hoped that when they would pick Ezekiel or Brady there would be a genuine palpable excitement from their passion for the game. The chemistry worked as we cast only a couple of professionals notably the host who would be interacting with Tony Romo and our fantasy football draftees. With a preference to select a female host, we all know that if the best fit for our production was a male host we would certainly not object. Our criteria were they must have had a real-life experience and knowledge of playing Fantasy Football and preferably be in the local Dallas area.  With only one call to the Kim Dawson Agency in stepped Emily Jones, 10 years experienced player of fantasy football but also known to local Dallas Texans as a sideline personality for every home Dallas Texan Baseball game. Emily exceeded expectations as she professionally supported our celebrity commentator, Tony Romo who led the League of Chap’s draft on the live stream with fun and fury for the home fans and CHAPS consumers.

This 1-hour activation broadcast covering the 2018 fantasy football draft came to life with the help of our custom graphic solution. We presented the League of Chaps offering brand, product, celebrity and fan engagement with a live stream for viewers to receive and experience in a “real-time format”. This graphics server setup was designed by the in-house tech team at Absolute Live Productions covering the workflow typically handled by a system such as the Ross Xpression, this solution came at a fraction of the cost to the client and had the look and feel of a real sports commentated broadcast.

To bring this production report to a close we must not forget to include our details of the Post Production for this project. This included a recut of the line cut into a 9×16 format for Instagram Stories, Instagram Carousel, and IGTV. In addition, we created marketing segments that were utilized and posted as 1 x 1 sound byte clips to Facebook & Instagram to promote the “League of Chaps” show and highlight the Brand. Knowing the numbers are always growing and fluid, at the time this was written the viewership documented as was 750,000 reported viewers for the Facebook Live stream.

All in all this project was chalked up to being a fantastic success and the team at Absolute Live Productions is proud to have collaborated with the Ralph Lauren, Chaps team, Dallas Texas talent and crew – Facebook Creative Shop who we might add supported us throughout the entire project from beginning to end.