Wednesday afternoon, pre-game, Raps against Heat.
I’m running around, literally, with Annie
Cho and Tom Boutassis, Coordinators, Game Operations and Special Events with the Toronto Raptors.
It’s game day and preparations for in-game entertai
nment are in high gear. A lot goes in to make our Raptors Game Presentation the best in the league.
Annie, Tom and I head up to scoreboard (control room) and Annie Chats with Anton Wright, their Manager.
Anton is busy reviewing the creative media elements for the game and making necessary adjustments.
We then head down to the court and the coordinators check in on the Dance Pak and the Raptor, who are rehearsing their routines for the Huskies Hardwood Classic game and grooving to some Jerry Lee Lewis.
Next up, we meet the 14 part-time Game Crew and Interactive staff in the staffroom.
Annie, who coordinates the scripting, prizing, and Tom, who coordinates the on court and Dance Pak promotions, go through, by the minute, details for each event in-game with the staff. Giveaways, contests, Dance Pak calendar signings before the game, recognition (Doug Christie was attending the game), skits, and even “Flyball Dogs” at half…wow! Having attended Raps games, I didn’t realize that so much time, coordination and effort went into the amazing show I see as a fan!
At about 5:45pm, Tom and Annie go on head-set, that is, so that they can communicate with each other and Anton, who directs the game. Each minute of the pre-game, anthems, game, time-outs, breaks, half and postgame are precisely scripted. “When Anton calls what’s coming up, we say Ready” says Annie. “Sometimes the crowd is so loud we don’t hear a call on headset” explains Tom “so we’ve got to make sure we’re organized. This is live, we don’t leave anything up to chance.”