Networks Set Wins Award

Sometimes, a grueling deadline is just what is needed to bring out the best in people.

That may have been the case with the folks at AKA Creative Group, in conjunction with the Pac-12 Networks. AKA is the design firm that built the set for the networks’ studio programming. Given under three months from concept to completion to finish the set, AKA delivered a dynamic product that has been the home to the networks’ successful weekly shows during football and basketball season, as well as other original programming.

The success and popularity of the set was validated earlier this week when the Pac-12 Networks studio was named Set of the Year by NewscastStudio, an online resource for creative news professionals. The recognition came as a result of a fan vote. Over 8,000 votes were cast during a bracket-type competition in which the Pac-12 Networks beat out KCRG-TV of Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the finals.

“It’s actually pretty impressive knowing the challenges we had to get it launched,” Pac-12 Enterprises Creative Director David Rickles said. “Obviously, we had some time constraints and some budget constraints. It’s something really gratifying. In spite of all the challenges we had, it’s something to be really proud of.”

The Pac-12 Networks had an aggressive timeline leading up to their launch in August, and the completion of the set was among the ambitious goals that were set. The studio had to be finished well before the networks went live on Aug. 15. Testing had to take place, and several preview shows had to be taped beforehand.

That meant the set really had to be done about a month before the networks went live.

“Hats off to AKA Creative Group. I don’t know anyone else who would have been able to achieve what they did,” Rickles said. “There was obviously a refining process that took place over the first two weeks and we made a couple of tweaks. But there was a huge amount of pressure. You had a whole mess of people who barely knew each other and a mess of technology to learn. My hat’s off to the production crew and the job they did as well.”

In NewscastStudio’s “Set Madness” competition, the Pac-12 Networks’ studio beat out sets for NBA-TV and NBC Olympics, among others.

“We knew things were set up well to make this something special,” Rickles said. “But by winning this award, it really hits home that it’s the public perception, not just internal. It was clear right away when it was put in place that it looked really cool.”

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