NBC Sports Group

Stamford, Connecticut

Mancini’s design team took advantage of the abundant space available in an existing shampoo factory and warehouse to carve out work zones for Broadcast, Support Functions, and Workspace that fine-tunes NBC Sports Group’s operations. The goal of the new space was to co-locate far-flung offices into a centralized, state-of-the-art media hub so that major sporting events coverage could be seamlessly produced on-site. Now, the most advanced television headquarters in the country can stream live coverage of major events like the Olympics with minimal off-site coordination.

Video production for television and digital platforms has strict guidelines for space that automatically disqualify many commercial buildings. A television studio’s lighting grid needs to hang at least 16 feet above the floor—think boom mics and overhead cameras—resulting in the need for ceilings at least 24 feet high. Most commercial buildings contain an average ceiling height of eight feet to nine feet which is not ideal for a full production studio. What NBC Sports Group found at the former factory and warehouse space suited these needs, with the ability to host six full-sized studios.

Alongside the innermost wall, Mancini placed the Broadcast zone. This zone houses the six main, column-free studios used for production and was largely made possible due to the building’s flexible foundation. The heavy-duty cement floors, poured for use in a factory, can handle the extensive load requirements which are redistributed from long steel columns spaced widely apart. This existing structure allowed Mancini to remove the columns that impeded the studio space from being completely open. This portion of the space was also windowless which, for a studio, only adds to its benefits for production. The Broadcast zone also has direct access to the building’s loading dock—another benefit from its days as a warehouse.

Strategically located directly adjacent to the Broadcast zone, the Support Function zone is home to most of the headquarters’ 50-plus editing bays and 50 graphics suites are located alongside the studios’ control rooms, green rooms, dressing rooms, screening rooms, and the transmission and tape centers. Over 1,200 miles of cable link both zones to server rooms and other mission critical systems. Mancini located the Support Function zone in the center of the space to bring efficiency in creating and delivering content faster.

Keeping a television and digital media studio running like a factory requires intensive coordination and logistics between teams to make it happen, especially during major events. Mancini designed the headquarters with the flexibility to support anywhere from 500 to 1,000 workers. During the 2018 Winter Olympics telecast, the building was operating at capacity, instantly releasing content shot on‑site to the world.

To create a workspace for each team, Mancini deconstructed an entire outer wall of the building, cladding it with glazing that allowed natural light to stream in. This Workspace zone is shared among all departments and intermixed with open collaboration spaces. An upper mezzanine holding additional Workplace and Support zones overlooks the double-height newsroom, with its own broadcast desk and multipurpose space used for large gatherings or recreation. Colorful panels in the windows and bright accent furniture add character to the space.

Mancini also updated the building’s administrative wing, originally holding the offices and commissary for the factory and warehouse. Offices lining the wing’s perimeter enjoy full-height windows and are glass-fronted to allow light to shine into the open workplace located in the center of the floorplan. These offices house administrative and executive staff, as well as conference rooms and other meeting rooms of various size and feature bold accent walls and custom millwork.

The centrally located commissary was restored, bringing much of the original kitchen equipment back to life. New items like a grill, pizza oven, and a salad bar reflect modern tastes and refuel the hard-working NBC Sports Group employees during all-nighters. Seating is left largely open and flexible to allow the space to be used for events and opens to the newly landscaped plaza for outdoor seating during warmer months.

Throughout the building, Mancini-designed supergraphics to emphasize NBC Sports Group’s legacy. Now that the entire group is under one roof, that legacy can grow and evolve to meet the rising demands of the country’s digital audience. By design, the new headquarters shaped from a shampoo factory, now operates like one—with much less green goo.