How FOX Sports transformed event production operations.

Learn how having a single view into its operations has helped FOX Sports streamline event production.

Time to read: 5 minutes

Getting one sporting event on air takes a lot of work and hundreds of people across multiple teams. So just imagine the kind of workforce a major brand like FOX Sports needs to deploy to broadcast a game.

The company operates multiple sports channels, broadcast divisions, and media outfits. Its channels include FOX Sports, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, Fox Deportes, and Big Ten Network, and it is home to major sporting events such as the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer.

Each of these games requires multiple groups within FOX Sports to provide staffing support to employees, freelancers, and resources. And with each group previously using its own scheduling and organizing system, there was no single channel to communicate and collaborate across departments.

To make scheduling easy for employees and freelancers, who often work long hours to bring events to viewers, FOX Sports has unified its production scheduling systems and streamlined its processes. The company rolled out an application called Playbook to its studio, post-production, remote operations, transmission, broadcast, and technical operations teams to create a single view of events.

Playbook is a sports production scheduling and workflow application that was built based on a powerful field service solution. It is now enabling about 260 administrators and 8,500 freelancers to get their schedules on the go, in real time. Within FOX Sports, teams have become more collaborative, agile, and productive by having access to event data in one place.

Leading this transformation is Gina Porretti, FOX Sports’ Senior Vice President for Studio Operations. A seasoned TV professional, Porretti has been instrumental to FOX Sports’ successful studio operations, looking after a range of areas, from technical and creative to financial. She has held senior roles in TV operations and production.

Here are four ways Playbook helps Porretti and her team achieve transparency in event data, automate manual processes, resolve staffing problems, and boost collaboration.


Drive smart collaboration through a single source of event data

Without a single platform across its departments, it was difficult for FOX Sports to foster collaboration and make sure teams were using the same data to make decisions.

“We were all working in our own silos and trying to make sense of what we were doing, and were communicating via email or text message,” said Porretti. “There was no one universal system for us to go to gather data or see what everybody else was doing.”

Now, FOX Sports’ studio, post-production, remote crewing operations, transmission, broadcast, and technical operations teams can access real-time information via a single channel. They collaborate more and strategically plan their staffing using tools such as templates, notifications, notes, workflows, and approvals. This has sped up preparations for event production and ensured the company is using its resources optimally.

FOX Sports first deployed Playbook to its studio, post-production, and remote operations teams. To help users with the new app, the company also rolled out ‘HelpDesk’ using a powerful customer service and support platform.

The transmission, broadcast, and technical operations teams have also transitioned to Playbook. Now, about 260 administrators and 8,500 freelancers benefit from having a single system for complete visibility into workflows and resource scheduling.

“We can see what everybody’s doing. If I want to know what’s going on at Fox Deportes today, I just log in to Playbook, see the schedule, locate an actual show today or in the future and if crew is assigned we can verify who is booked on that show or event.”

Gina Porretti, Senior Vice President, Studio Operations, FOX Sports

Learn more about Salesforce Service Cloud.

Empower workforce with real-time access to information and greater mobility

Previously, crews had to get their schedule through email and phone calls. Now, everything a crew member needs to know is instantly available in the app on their mobile device. For the first time, they can see all the events they are booked for in one place and quickly accept or decline a shift through the Playbook app, making management of their schedules more efficient.

For FOX Sports production staff, the ability to assign and track schedules and other activities through mobile devices has greatly accelerated production workflows. They can send a request to see if an entire crew is available for an event and get a reply quickly, enabling them to plan and schedule resources optimally.

Staff coordinators no longer spend long hours looking through emails for crewing preferences. With application templates reducing the repetitive work involved in using a staffing grid, coordinators can now focus on resolving staffing conflicts and rebalancing assignments.

“We now have transparency. If my team is booking a portion of a crew or facility for a game, I can see what remote crewing has been able to do, who they booked for that event, confirm the call time, and whether our call times align with theirs so we can sync up appropriately. That’s a single source of truth for us.”

Gina Porretti, Senior Vice President, Studio Operations, FOX Sports

Learn more about Salesforce Field Service.


Optimize resources and plan staffing strategically

FOX Sports’ need to organize and optimize resources such as crews and facilities is complex. From preproduction to broadcast transmission, every stage in broadcasting a game requires multiple teams and hundreds of resources.

FOX has improved its production timelines and deployment of resources through analytics and timely insights. By having a common scheduling and workflow platform, production staff can make decisions based on the same data, helping them avoid issues such as staffing and scheduling conflicts.

Within Porretti's department, the studio operations and scheduling teams have improved their coordination, thanks to more transparent event data. Operations managers can easily check with the scheduling team for any issues with crewing, helping them address concerns promptly.

Managing other areas of staffing is also more efficient now that Playbook is fully integrated with other systems such as Workday and FoxPAY. This has sped up onboarding of new employees and processing of payroll.

Fox attributes the integration success of Playbook with Workday and FoxPAY to MuleSoft. The integration supports the digital transformation of the onboarding and payroll process.

Improve productivity and business agility

Ultimately, having a single platform has enhanced FOX Sports’ operational productivity and accelerated workflows. Gone are the days when different departments would operate on their own, using different systems, and missing opportunities for synergy.

FOX Sports single pane of glass view with Salesforce allows it to streamline scheduling and operations, and provide historical context for live productions and studio events.

As powerful as it is, FOX Sports has plans to improve Playbook. “We will continue to tie it to other software applications, such as our travel system, bring new teams on to the platform, and develop new ways to improve its ease of use,” said Porretti.

“As opposed to calling a coordinator to know what crew is booked for an event and to make sure they are on track with scheduling, I can just go to the dashboard and all the events for the week ahead would come up. It’s just lifesaving.”

Gina Porretti, Senior Vice President, Studio Operations, FOX Sports.

Previously, we were like different groups or organizations. Now, we’re not like that anymore. We’re better and stronger and busier. And Salesforce was a big part of bringing us together.”

Gina Porretti, Senior Vice President, Studio Operations, FOX Sports.

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