Jan. 11, 2021 - ESPN recently hosted the 86th Heisman Trophy Ceremony on January 5th, 2021. The event has historically been hosted in New York City since its inception in 1935, but this year it was staged virtually from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Connecticut.
To make the event possible given the circumstances, ESPN utilized Ross Production Services’ production portal, which allows remote contributors to be easily incorporated into broadcast productions.
The one-hour telecast was hosted by Chris Fowler, who was also joined by reporter Maria Taylor. Additionally, ESPN analysts and former Heisman Trophy winners Desmond Howard and Tim Tebow contributed to the event remotely.
During the event, all four Heisman finalists – Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith and Florida quarterback Kyle Trask – appeared on the broadcast via satellite. Heisman winners from past years appeared virtually during the broadcast as well.
The trophy ended up going to Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, who received 447 first-place votes and 1,856 points. Smith is the first receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since 1991 and just the sixth overall.
ESPN previously used the RPS production portal on their College GameDay show this fall to allow fans to join the “virtual pit” from their homes. The RPS team worked closely with the College GameDay production team to create the infrastructure necessary to make virtual pit a reality.