Hi, it's Malko here.
Earlier this year, MudGear was announced as the official socks of the ESPN BattleFrog College Championships TV show. I got a chance to see the taping in Atlanta and wrote about it here earlier. The season premiere will air in prime-time on ESPN on June 30th, 2016 at 8:00PM Eastern.
I recently had a chance to interview Tom Davis, writer and Executive Producer of the show.
Q: Last season was well received in the OCR community, especially for the focus on the action. What did ESPN see in it that resulted in a bigger format for season 2?
The BattleFrog College Championship was ESPN’s first foray into OCR programming.
From the outset they expressed an appreciation for the passion and athleticism of OCR competitors and were intrigued by our unique Sprint OCR format and the idea that we would be adding a new chapter to some traditional college rivalries.
Fortunately, millions watched the series and loved seeing the level of competition and camaraderie that’s inherent in any OCR event. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive and the ratings steadily grew with each episode.
We, and our partners at BattleFrog, were very pleased the Worldwide Leader in Sports not only wanted to bring back the BattleFrog College Championship and add the BattleFrog League Championship, but also to air the premiere episodes of both series’ in prime time and commit to triple the number of broadcast hours throughout the summer. It’s a great thing for the sport and we hope that the OCR community will continue to support the show as they have thus far.
Q: What things were you looking to keep in 2016 and what were you trying to improve upon?
The answer to both questions is the same – competition.
The first edition of the college series was very competitive and it was important for us to focus on the action as you mentioned before. The challenge on the college side this time around was to select the schools and competitors who would push the overall level of athleticism and competition to even greater heights in Season 2.
On the League side, the focus was more on finding the best competitors in the world, many of them OCR champions in their own right, and letting them do what they do best. I think the audience will see very quickly that the level of competition in both events is off the charts.
Q: What was the biggest challenge in the production process? How is the sport different from others from a directors/producers prospective?
OCR is different from a production perspective because it’s not like football or basketball where you have a time-honored set of best practices for how things should be covered within a broadcast. At least not yet! So, our goal, along with our partners at BattleFrog, was to feature the action and the athletes in a very real way to give the audience a real sense of what it’s like to attack these obstacles and push yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of.
Q: Athletes talk a lot about the legitimacy of the sport and wanting to get it more mainstream acceptance. What's your take on the future of the sport as a director/producer?
The great news is that OCR seems to be trending upwards as a television property. I think the fact that you’ll be seeing the premiere episodes of both the BattleFrog College Championship and the new BattleFrog League Championship in prime time on ESPN, the most popular sports network on the planet, is reason enough to be optimistic about the future of the sport. Beyond that, were in the midst of an expansion of OCR-type shows on both cable and network TV across the board, so hopefully a rising tide lifts all boats. Of course, our goal is not just to generate viewers. We want them to be so inspired by watching that they’ll decide to participate as well.
Q: What are your favorite socks?
MudGear has the greatest socks in the history of feet!
Thanks Tom - we're looking forward to the show!