Phillies game producers eyeing creative ways to engage fans
By Matt Rappa
The Phillies production team is looking at creative ways to engage fans in 2020
Hardly anything about the upcoming 2020 season will be anything of the ordinary for Philadelphia Phillies fans. And, it all starts with not being allowed to attend games in person at the ballpark due to social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, for fans to get their “Phillies fix,” they will have no choice but to take in games either through radio or television broadcasts. But, even then, things will not be the same as they always have been.
Jeff Halikman, senior producer of Phillies baseball telecasts on NBC Sports Philadelphia, noted on a recent podcast with Jim Salisbury that even the broadcasts themselves will look and feel different.
“You won’t see the fan shots, that’s a guarantee. But, what I do think you’ll see is more player reaction,” Halikman noted. “There’s always a mix of the fans going nuts, which I love, and there’s a mix of the guys at home plate waiting like 2-year-olds that have never experienced anything like this, even if they have the week before, to celebrate with their teammates.”
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In order to capture “euphoric” moments, Halikman said the Phillies broadcast crew will rely on capturing different reactions, maybe seeing more of the manager or the player who just gave up a walk-off home run, for example. “Maybe we see more of that frustration and stress on their faces,” he said. “I think there will be a lot of drama, it just won’t be the same as what we’re used to.”
Halikman said his team is exploring opportunities to do some things differently this season to “keep people interested and help people really enjoy their Phillies from a distance.”
He hinted there may even be a way in which fans can have their reactions to pivotal game moments seen on the following game’s broadcast.
“We may have some opportunities to do some different things this year. Bringing all that stuff to the fans is what we’re hoping to do,” said Halikman. “Keep your cameras rolling at home, because your celebrations at home when Harper hits a walk-off may easily be on the broadcast the next day.”
“So, get your phones ready, keep them charged, and be recording.”