As Brian Musburger enters Derek Stevens’s new Circa Resort & Casino from Fremont Street, within a few steps he touches the new VSiN broadcast center, above the ground-level theater seats, and views the magnificent LED video display.
Seventy-eight million pixels are squeezed onto that basketball court-sized screen, and it juts in as it rises to enhance the viewing experience for all three sportsbook levels.
If Musburger, VSiN’s founder and CEO, and nephew of VSiN flagship voice and broadcasting icon Brent Musburger seems as overwhelmed by the enormity and amenities of this new sports-betting palace as he is by his company’s nook in it, he has a right to be speechless.
Brian remembers, not so long ago, all of this being dreams, vague notions, sketches on napkins.
“Derek has put so much thought into this,” he says. “He is a sports fan, so he understands what you want in an immersive viewing experience. Amazing. Every sports fan will need to make a pilgrimage here.
Brian remembers, not so long ago, all of this being dreams, vague notions, sketches on napkins.Will the Ravens hand the Steelers its first loss of the season this week?— VSiN (@VSiNLive) October 26, 2020
Here are @meJVT and @WesReynolds1 earlier on #TheEdge with a game preview. pic.twitter.com/YfidcZNWsw
“And what this does for our broadcasting capabilities can’t be overstated. Technically, it’s a quantum leap for us as a network.”
As Stevens guided Brent Musburger on a hard-hat tour, when the edifice was under construction, he highlighted where the screen and three-tiered seating areas, and the site of VSiN’s future central nervous system, whose views span all of the action.
“You couldn’t ask for a better layout,” said Brent. “Derek building this elaborate sportsbook and VSiN looking down on it from up above gives it a heck of a vantage point. It’s part of the growth of the network.
“I think it’s great for both entities.”
Everything the VSiN crew requested for its new broadcast center, from mixers to robotic cameras to microphones to lighting, the Stevens team delivered. Every piece of equipment is of the highest available quality.
“All of it is 4G-capable, right on the cutting edge in terms of the picture and sound quality,” said Mike Palm, vice president of operations for The D, Golden Gate and Circa. “They’re the experts and they know where they’re going in the future, so they’ve gotten every toy and gadget they’ve asked for. They need it, because they’re producing more than one live show at a time, more than 24 hours of programming on any given day.”
VSiN will retain its South Point studio, and has venues at Mandalay Bay, the Borgata in Atlantic City and Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Ill., near O’Hare International Airport. It produces specific shows for outlets in Chicago, New York, New England and Canada.
Its Vegas-based shows can be heard or viewed on Sirius XM, FuboTV and Sling TV.
All of that content will be produced and/or disseminated at its Circa broadcast center.
Brian Musburger harkened back to his days working — and taking meticulous notes — on Oprah Winfrey’s popular television show at the state-of-the-art Harpo Studios in Chicago, for direction on designing and filling VSiN’s new headquarters.
“The control room we have here is based on what they did in Chicago,” he said. “There’s nothing like it in Las Vegas. The broadcast quality from the new cameras, and the new graphic capabilities, takes it all to a new level. It’s really exciting for us.”
In 2017, the rich reciprocal relationship took root when Derek Stevens gathered Palm and two other Circa executives to take a drive to the other end of the Strip to meet with the VSiN hierarchy at the South Point. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which prevented states from determining their own sports betting fates, would not be quashed until a year later, in May 2018. So they were all operating way, way out on a limb.
That confluence represented the future of sports betting, the unabashed and unstoppable forces that would so influence the industry.
“The first dedicated sports-gambling network … at the time, it seemed a little farfetched,” said Palm. “But Derek had a lot of faith in Brent Musburger, that he would give a lot of credibility to the network, and it would pick up steam because of that.”
Brent Musburger credits South Point owner Michael Gaughan for devoting such prime mid-casino slot space, next to his sportsbook, for VSiN’s inaugural glass-walled home everyone dubbed The Fish Bowl.
“VSiN would not be what it is today without Michael Gaughan and the South Point,” said Brent. “The studio at Circa will help draw traffic to it, as it did and still does for South Point. And all those different studios make the VSiN brand more impressive.”
Palm is certain that first trip to the South Point planted the initial seed in Stevens’ noggin of his spiffy new downtown resort housing a spiffy space-age VSiN studio. Three and a half years later, at Fremont and Main Streets, that’s the reality.