The majority of the events we all as announcers work, have some sort of organized media area. Be it a scorers table or pressbox, there’s typically a place for us to set-up and feel official. What happens when you arrive to a location that doesn’t have anything set-up and you’re left fending for yourself? If
The majority of the events we all as announcers work, have some sort of organized media area. Be it a scorers table or pressbox, there’s typically a place for us to set-up and feel official. What happens when you arrive to a location that doesn’t have anything set-up and you’re left fending for yourself?
If you’re put into a situation where you might start announcing more events on your own and at venues that may or may not have cover, you need to consider bringing your own pressbox.
First, ask if the event will have a cover for you. If you don’t want to spend the money on a tent, there’s a good possibility that the event coordinator can arrange to have one for you. Make sure it can be staked to the ground or tied to a fence if there is wind. You will also want to invest in a chair of some kind rather than rely on what might be available.
Second, come prepared. Tents aren’t all that expensive anymore and you can get one for about $100-$150 from a warehouse store. You can get them with walls, screens, or any other accessories. You can also get battery-operated lanterns that put out a good amount of light and can be mounted from the inside of the tent to provide light when it gets dark. Make sure your tent can be staked to the ground and/or tied to a fence or other anchor in the event of wind. And be sure when driving stakes to put them in at different angles so if one gets pulled, the others don’t go with it.
Third, make sure you absolutely have cover. There are many instances from announcers to mobile DJs who have had equipment fried or melted because they kept their equipment in the sun without cover. Tents provide cover from the sun, but also rain, birds, tree sap and more. And you don’t need to be next to the tree to have something fall off it into your computer. The tents will also knock down some of the sun glare so you can see your screen to keep score, play music, etc.
Fourth, consider bringing your own fan. Fans can be as little as $5 so not bringing one doesn’t make sense. Make sure to keep fans blowing on the electronics. Moving air does not heat up as fast and will help to keep your equipment from overheating. When working with electronics, make sure ALL of your plugs are INSIDE the tent and completely covered. Whether it’s an electrical strip, or where that strip plugs into an extension cord.
Fifth, plastic, plenty of it. Bring enough plastic trash bags to cover your equipment in the event of rain or other falling debris. Grocery bags can be used to cover plugs where two wires come together.
Sixth, be prepared to move the tent. There are times when the sun is coming up or going down that being directly under the tent provides you absolutely no coverage from the sun. You have to set yourself up so that you can move the tent, move your table, or put up walls to protect yourself and your equipment from the sun. In the first photo above, you can see the tent pole between the mixer and the computer.
When trying to figure out where you’re going to setup in relation to the tent location, factor where the sun is and where it will be. There have been times at college sports events where a cover is set-up and it does absolutely no good because the sun is setting in the eyes of those at the scorer’s table. The cover does nothing unless it rains.
A site visit may be important ahead of time. But always have something available to you. If you have the ability to get a tent, table and chairs, go for it. You can use them for more than just announcing sports, but other family gatherings and events. You can even put it up at your house and use it as a camping adventure for your kids. There’s all kinds of options available.
When choosing a tent, this is what we prefer:
- Dark top, it doesn’t allow as much light through so you can see your screen a lot easier than a lighter top. Some even have a UV rating which really cuts down on the rays coming through.
- Water resistant, should be straight forward
- Adjustable heights. There have been times I’ve lowered the tent on the front to the lowest setting, while the back was all the way to the ground. This provided the most coverage as I was set-up almost at the back. Plus it kind of feels like a space ship…and the reason I started calling my set-ups, “mission control”.
- Stakes and other anchors available. You should have at least two ways to keep the tent down. They’ll blow away easily if you don’t have them staked (at different angles at each foot), tied to a fence, or both.
- Ability to hang a light inside the tent. Try to reflect the light off the inner tent and down, rather than directly on your computer.
- Also consider the following:
- A fan
- A table
- A chair or two
- A small cooler…to put your feet up on
- Plastic and plastic bags