Bob Becker of Van Wagner talks producing virtual NFL draft from Raleigh

RALEIGH -- Bob Becker is most at home when he's on the road.

"My schedule during a normal year is on the road 240 days" Becker told ABC11.

An executive VP at Van Wagner, Becker's life has completely changed because of the pandemic.


"For a lot of people I equate it to driving 100 miles an hour then running into a brick wall because all of a sudden, it stopped."

Normally for the NFL draft, he's on site. With this year's entirely virtual draft, he and his 11 person team worked from their office on Six Forks Road.

Their job was coordinating all the coach and general manager camera feeds as well as all the musical interludes.

"When the Panthers are on the clock, we're feeding them the coach and the GM. When the Redskins, we flip over to them. The Eagles, flip over to them. So that was a big undertaking gathering all those all those feeds, getting them into the building and then getting them back out to ESPN in broadcast quality" Becker said.

There was some reluctance at first from these notoriously paranoid NFL types.

"The first few days we had to call them and set up the shots and a lot of them were worried about audio being heard."

Once those same coaches were reassured their draft strategy was secure, they started having fun.

"Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals was setting shots for us. He's like, 'hey, let's take a shot from this angle so that people can see the mountains in the background,' so they had some fun with it."

One delightful development was seeing the kids of the coaches and executives start crowding into the rooms to get on TV.

Becker said that was absolutely unplanned.

"It just happened organically and you know what it was a wonderful thing and made us kind of all realize, wow, we can do these things at home, you know, we don't need to be shuttered in our offices all the time. Let your family be a part of it. It was actually a very human thing that came out of this draft to see how they reacted with their families and I thought it was a great thing."

Becker has seen it all during his lengthy career producing sports events but this was a new and rewarding challenge.

"There was one moment where we almost chartered a private plane just to get a piece of equipment here in Raleigh, to put the show on on time. We put a lot of faith in what we do and a lot of faith in God above. And we did it. We put on a great, great product."