After claiming two conference championships, hiring new basketball coaches and entering the 2018-19 season with a promising young quarterback, Pitt Athletics seem to be entering a period of success.
Further proof of that success is is the promise of a new media studio and the projected August 2019 launch of the ACC Network, a planned ESPN-collaborative TV channel — and Pitt students will have the opportunity to be a part of it.
The network is expected to be very similar to the Big Ten, PAC-12 and SEC networks, according to a July 2016 article by the Post-Gazette. The Post-Gazette reported that the revenue distribution will be similar to that of the Big Ten and SEC networks for the member schools.
Every school in the ACC will receive an equal proportion of the ACC Network’s revenue, including Notre Dame, who is still under independent status for football but a member for all other sports. The contract with ESPN will run through the 2035-36 school year.
To prepare for the network’s launch, Pitt’s Board of Trustees approved a massive renovation project close to $44 million, dedicating $13.75 million to renovations for the Petersen Events Center.
This money will be used for a host of projects at the Pete, but its main use will be for the new media studio. Once the studio is open, there will be an internship available through Pitt Panthers Television that will help students gain experience in producing live video broadcasts for nationally watched sports.
The brief description of the internship explains that students will be assigned a specific sport to cover. Through the guidance of an executive producer, the students will learn how to produce live broadcasts.
The studio will not help Pitt expand in relation to the network, but it will help grow the university. The network will not only bring in revenue, but opportunities both academically and professionally.
Learning opportunities will be abundant and students will be able to not only learn about the business of television and how sports media giant ESPN runs, but they will also learn about the technical side.
Opening the studio shows students and teachers exactly how material taught in the classroom translates to the real world, but also the inner workings of how things are done on a day-to-day basis.
Since Pitt is one of 15 schools hosting in-house studios, they will need to find a home for this new media hub — and as of now, the studio is rumored to be in the main atrium of the Petersen Events Center next to the escalators and team merchandise shop.
Placing the studio in the main atrium means students who pass through on their way between upper and lower campus — every time they travel to or from class — will see the studio. This will provide fans with an glimpse at the studio as they enter the arena, contributing to the game day atmosphere. Lyke is excited about the opportunity the high-traffic location presents.
“I think it’ll give the public and our fans and our students and our community an opportunity to see what goes into the production of the network,” Lyke said at the ACC’s annual football kickoff event last summer. “I don’t know that it’s going to be ‘The Today Show,’ but something similar — where people can feel connected and a part of it is going to be something that’s a unique feature of the new Petersen Center.