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SVG Sit-Down: Returning to Onsite Production With Pac-12 Network's Ashley Adamson

03/09/2021

SVG Sit-Down: Returning to Onsite Production With Pac-12 Network's Ashley Adamson Traveling Saturday-morning show The Pregame is on campus at Oregon this weekend By Brandon Costa, Director of Digital

Friday, September 3, 2021 - 1:16 pm

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Although the COVID-19 pandemic is still very much a part of our lives, the start of college football season has been refreshing and uplifting for sports networks, which not only are returning game production to the stadium but are producing onsite pregame shows from campuses across the country.

For the first time since fall 2019, the Pac-12 Network is bringing back its Saturday-morning on-campus series, The Pregame, with a trip to Eugene, OR, to preview the University of Oregon Ducks' non-conference showdown with Fresno State. For the next 12 weeks, The Pregame will visit every one of the conference's member institutions.

This year's Saturday-morning slate will be a bit different. The Pregame will shift from an hour to 30 minutes, making way for a new campus-lifestyle show called Pac-12 Tailgate, which will air live immediately prior. Live on-campus coverage begins at 10 a.m. PT.

Pac-12 Network's Ashley Adamson: [The Pregame] is going to be hyper-focused on the school that we are at and the game that we are leading into.

SVG caught up with the host of The Pregame, Ashley Adamson, a veteran of Pac-12 Networks since its launch in 2012. She discussed what it feels like to finally return to campus after all this time, how the new show lineup affects the stories the network wants to tell, and adapting to the future of at-home production as on-camera talent.

Getting back to campus and getting Pac-12 Networks back with a desk on a campus: what does that mean to you as a broadcaster?

I don't ever want to say that any of us ever took our jobs for granted, because we know we have the best jobs in the world and feel incredibly lucky to be able to do what we do and to talk about sports for a living. [But] it's like anything else: when it is taken away and when you are doing everything remotely, it's different. The reality of being a great sports journalist is being able to show up and be there and build those relationships and see things with your own eyes so that you can share the stories and all the behind-the-scenes stuff with the people at home.

We've been doing our jobs as best we could for the last 18 months, but, as of this weekend, [we're] getting back to, for me personally, what made me fall in love with this career, which is being able to be there and talk with the coaches and talk with student athletes, and say hi to the fans, and just get that feeling of a college football Saturday.

It's going to be different. It's not going to be the exact same as it was pre-COVID, certainly, but excited isn't a strong enough word. I'm elated to be back doing the thing that we love to do. I wish I had a more cerebral answer for you, but it's the reason people who are in this line of work do it: it's to be there and to get to experience it. I've got a giant grin on my face just thinking about it.

Your Saturday-morning football show, The Pregame, has always done a really good job of making sure to visit every Pac-12 campus every year. You put yourself in a cool spot on the campus and tell the story of the campus and what life is like there. Does the extended break change the kind of stories that you want to tell and change how you would approach these visits?

First of all, I think everything we do from now on will be a little bit different, given COVID.

In years past, we would melt between the flavor of the campus and the X's and O's, the matchups, and the football treatment. It was sometimes hard to navigate that: how do you go from talking about the gymnastics team to the matchup between the linebackers? There was just so much that was hard to figure out, how that show all came together. Now it's awesome that we've got two distinct shows.

I don't want to spoil anything or promise anything that won't end up making the air, but there are some really cool things in the works. We work with the campus to say, What do you want to showcase? - whether that's [a player or a place]. [This week,] let's make [Pac-12 Tailgate] about Oregon and what makes Oregon special. [The Pregame] will be much more of the actual football-heavy, matchup talk, what you would probably expect to see more of from a football pregame show. We'll mix in, hopefully, an interviewer too, as well as just talking about the matchup.

I think the thing that I'm seeing from behind the scenes is that, because we have only a half hour now to get into the game and because we are this year being very intentional about trying to be on campus and lead into the game that we have on our air, which we didn't do in the past, it makes it trickier from a logistical standpoint. But it makes it way better for the viewer, because we're going to be live in Eugene leading into that game and we are going to have the Oregon audience that is going to want to hear about Oregon. I think it gives us a chance to be a little bit more specific. Yes, we will still go broad-based, and we will still look at the big stories of the day, but it is going to be hyper-focused on the school that we are at and the game that we are leading into. Which is going to be a really nice change from how we've done it before.

I'm certainly not trying to have any fanbases come after you here, but is there a campus that you're really excited to get back to?

I can say diplomatically that truly, and I mean this, I love going to every single one of our campuses. If I could cover any conference anywhere in the world, it's the Pac-12 because of the schools' [ca
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