NBA Finals: ABC pulls out all the stops for broadcast, including shots of OKC from the air

As long as there are no thunderstorms to ground the blimp, NBA Finals viewers will get to see plenty of aerial shots of Oklahoma City. The network will also have an innovative opening segment and six slow-mo cameras.
by Mel Bracht Published: June 11, 2012
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“ESPN Axis” will create virtual replays, with video from live action processed via computers to create virtual freeze frames from several angles. SkyCam also will provide aerial views of the action.

However, 3-D telecasts won't be available for this year's finals. “We're concentrating on our HD coverage,” Gross said.

The “NBA Countdown” studio crew of former Lakers great Magic Johnson, former NBA star Jon Barry and journalists Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard will be on site in Oklahoma City and Miami. The crew also will call on retired referee Steve Javie for his commentary, particularly on controversial plays. Javie, who retired before the start of this season because of an arthritic right knee after 25 years in the league, was among the most respected refs in the game.

“We really think he can help people understand the game from a ref's standpoint,” Gross said.

If necessary, the game telecast crew of play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and analyst Jeff Van Gundy and the production truck also can talk with Javie during the game.

National coverage also will available on ESPN Radio will the three-man booth of Jim Durham and analysts Hall of Famer Jack Ramsay and Hubie Brown. Web coverage of the games also will be available on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

Although Oklahoma City is one of the smallest markets ever to host the NBA Finals, Gross is hoping for good ratings as fans tune in to see two of the league's top players in James and Durant.

“It doesn't matter what size of market it is or where it's located or what time zone it's in,” Gross said. “Let's just get the two best teams into the finals and have some fun with it.”

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by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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