Day is an event that, hence the name, is only open to the
media - TV, radio, newspapers - and is closed to the public.
I got on the Storm's press release email list and received
a notice about this year's Media Day. I thought, what the
heck, and asked if I could attend, just observe, take some
photos and report back to the fans on what goes on during
this event. Andrew Herdener graciously agreed (thanks, I owe
you one) as long as I didn't intrude on interviews or such.
No problem, I'm there.
me, this was fascinating. There were photo set-ups on one
side, a video shoot on the other with impromptu interviews
happening all around. Each player had a Storm staffer as their
guide and media go-between. As the players made the rounds
to each photo or video station, the various reporters or news
crews would pull them aside and conduct the interviews. Many
of the reporters had their own entourages and had specific
set-ups in one corner or another (FOX for one), while others
roamed around and followed the players.
Storm make use of this day to get all the still and video
images they will use of the players in the season's marketing
materials and/or video clips. All of the in-game video pieces
where they have the players start a cheer or say something
to pump up the crowd was captured in a video room by the dressing
rooms. In the main training gym, another video booth was capturing
front and side head shots, serious and smiling, for player
intros. There were two photo studio set-ups - one for ID photos
(blue screen, digital camera) and the one for marketing shots.
The Storm's primary photographer, Jeff Reinking (he always
sits under the basket in front of the Storm bench during the
games) was doing all the shooting here. Each player would
stand on a white seamless background and he would have them
do various things like dribble, pass or fake shooting. For
most of the players, this would take about 5 to 10 minutes.
For some it was very quick. For Sue Bird, she ended up coming
back 2 or 3 times for a total of at least 45 minutes of photos.
Simone, Jamie and Semeka also had extended shoots. If the
number of photos relates to a players marketing potential
and likelihood for a roster spot, I think those 4 players
are in for sure. Sue was a trooper and is most probably used
to this kind of attention, although it did seem she was getting
pretty bored with it all. I think Coach Dunn's real reason
for drafting Sue stems back to comments Coach made at the
end of last year about having the players be the "face"
of the Storm's marketing. Well, she definitely got that when
she drafted Sue Bird.
Sue first entered the gym (she's shorter than I expected),
she was instantly surrounded by reporters. The only time over
the course of the next couple of hours she had a rest was
when she got a call on her cell phone and sat down to answer
it. Otherwise, she was talking non-stop. I felt like I needed
to stand back a bit since she was in such demand, so I didn't
really get to hear much of what she was being asked. The other
interview favorite was Michelle Marciniak. She too was being
interviewed basically non-stop. The questions always seemed
to gravitate toward her coming battle with Sue for the starting
point guard spot. I eavesdroped on a couple of the interviews
and it sounded like Michelle was handling herself extremely
well. She pointed out that she is in the best shape of her
life, that she weighs the same she did in high school, that
she has been working on her game through the offseason, and
that she welcomes the competition Sue presents. One reporter
asked her about her career and pointed out that she hasn't
been on the same team for two years running since she graduated.
She agreed and said that the Storm is the first team that
she has the chance to hit two years, she is determined to
make a place for herself here.
talked to Tony Ventrella from Seattle's Channel 7 and asked
him what he looks for when he comes to events like this. He
smiled and said that sports isn't really news, it's entertainment.
These kinds of events are basically PR for the teams and he
and the other sports reporters play along, just like they
do with the Sonics, Seahawks and Mariners. If this were politician
or any other kind of business holding an event like this,
the reporters would come in more skeptical. But since it is
entertainment, it's all fine. He said that he tries to get
a couple good pictures, maybe a couple sound bites and will
use it to let his auidence know about the Storm. He sounded
a bit cynical, but I can see his point.
had a chance to talk to Semeka about her time in Israel this
year. I told her that everything we've been hearing have painted
a pretty bleak picture of daily life. She said that where
she played was relatively removed from all the West Bank and
that she never really felt threatened. She left for Israel
last September, so her Mom was worried, but everything was
fine. Because she was there for 7 months and the WNBA season
is only about 3 months, I asked her if the summer doesn't
feel like the offseason instead of the other way around. She
said no, that the Israeli league only plays once a week and
while the practices are tough they are not nearly as intense
as the ones here. The WNBA season still feels like the "on"
more thing about Michelle Marciniak - she has mad crazy ball
skills. She put on a show for the video crew by doing this
alternating two ball bounce behind her back through her legs
routine that had jaws dropping all over the gym. I told Sarah
Childs, the Storm's Community Relations Coordinator, that
they should just film 3M doing that for their tv ads with
the headline, "You cannot do this." I was so astounded
that I forgot to take a picture.
this was an interesting event (for me at least). I like to
think of myself as an amateur member of the media, so it was
cool to see the "real" media in action. One more
thing - why was it necessary for FOX to conduct all of their
interviews lying or squating on the floor?