PRG Delivers Multi-Discipline Support for the 2023 NFL Draft
With the largest stage and biggest screens in league history, 2023’s NFL Draft was a monumental event. Hosted in Chief’s country, Kansas City’s Union Station was transformed into an outdoor LED theater, with the WWI Museum and Memorial providing sweeping backgrounds for the experience. The offseason extravaganza took place over seven rounds in a three-day session with the first round of the season beginning on April 27, 2023. PRG returned as the technical services partner for rigging, lighting and video.
The NFL has long been a dominant force in television, with highly anticipated games, Super Bowl showdowns, and the NFL Draft captivating millions of viewers across the country. The first round of the 2023 Draft drew in an astounding average of 11.4 million viewers on various platforms, including ESPN, the NFL Network, ABC, and ESPN Deportes. This marks an 11 percent increase from the previous year's first round, which brought in 10.3 million viewers.
Working with C3 Presents, The Production Collective, and executing the lighting design from 22 Degrees designers Jon Kusner and Madigan Stehly, PRG delivered 25 trucks to downtown Kansas City, Missouri for the event. Below is a breakdown of the production services PRG provided.
PRG handled the rigging for audio, camera, lighting, LED, and scenic. A total of 270 hoists supported 289,300 lbs. of weight suspended in the theatre. The order also included all spanner beams, ground support structures for lighting and LED in the green room, player hallway structures, and a 4-point flying camera support.
PRG lit up the main theater as well as Mötley Crüe’s epic performance on Saturday. The lighting order for the main theater, green room and performance included 6 GrandMA2 consoles, one GrandMA2 Light console, two MDG TheOne hazers, and more than 1,400 lighting fixtures pulled from PRG Nashville and Los Angeles.
Mötley Crüe played a six-song set that began at the main stage and transitioned to Union Station’s Bloch Fountain, where Tommy Lee's drum kit was set up in the middle of the water feature, orbited by 29 SGM P-1 lighting fixtures. As singer Vince Neil sang, "I'm on my way/ Home Sweet Home," the pumps cranked up and a wall of water that enveloped Lee, making for a dramatic moment.
For the performance, PRG provided VL3600 fixtures and VL3600 outfitted GroundControl® units. This was also the first widespread use of PRG’s Hydra Node™ which is the latest update to the PRG Super Node™. The PRG Hydra Node is a is a high-density DMX node that converts sACN or Artnet to DMX-512. On the front are twenty-four XLR 5pin outputs and on the rear are three 8-Way DMX Snake outputs (which mirror the XLRs on the front). All the outputs are easily configured from an onboard touch screen.
LED screens ruled everything at the Draft, wrapping around to create a separate structure right outside of Union Station. LED panels filled in the windows of the historical building. The LED products used included Roe CB5 and Roe Black Onyx BO3, with a total of 31,353,344 pixels and 1,433 panels covering approximately 10,000 square feet of screens.
Even beyond the sheer magnitude of the build, the beautiful Kansas City location created additional structural challenges. According to 22 Degrees Lighting Designer Jon Kusner, working with one trusted partner across multiple disciplines helped streamline the show.
“I give the NFL credit for picking such a handsome (and historic) piece of scenery by choosing Union Station's façade,” said Kusner. “The structure that C3 Presents and Production Collective chose to deliver the show created an almost impossible set of circumstances that needed to be negotiated, and PRG united departments to help work through a massive install even with some hiccups from mother nature and a challenging schedule.”
One of the major structural challenges was building the main theater atop a 2-story underground parking structure.
“The entire team at the NFL Draft had to pull together to overcome the technical challenges of building a structure, stage and production larger than an NFL football field on top of a parking garage,” explained Production Manager Shawn Worlow of The Production Collective. “The crew from PRG and their can-do attitude was an essential piece of the show’s success.”
Director of Site Design: Kris Bast (C3)
Production Manager: Shawn Worlow (The Production Collective)
Lighting Designer: John Kusner (22 Degrees)
Lighting Designer: Madigan Stehly (22 Degrees)
PRG Account Executive: Bobby Allen
PRG Account Executive / Gaffer: Tony Ward
PRG Project Manager: Bryan Barry
PRG Rigging Project Manager: Eric Chabira
Rigging Lead: Richard Cano
Rigger: PJ Aremellino
Rigger: Dan Parker
Rigger: Jacob Parker
Rigging Load out Crew: Dan Kilmer & Brendan Yeager
Crew Chief: Robb Minnotte
Best Boy: Cole Kiracofe
Best Boy: Jose David Serralles
Best Boy: Johnny Washam
Best Boy: David Favorita
Best Boy: James Beaghan II
Lead Technician: Janos Bode
Lead Technician: Marco Sanchez
Lead Technician: Miguel Hernandez Jr
Lighting Load out Crew: Robbie Winfree, Chris Barbier, Patrick Osuna & Ben Lewis
LED Crew Chief: Josh Marrano
LED Lead: James Forbes
LED Technician: Colton Carroll
LED Technician: Chris Piccinich
LED Technician: Allen Gutierrez
LED Technician: Luke Waldron
Josh Marrano pictured on the LED screens controls.