Life in a Bubble: Cameraman describes being in quarantine as part of ESPN’s broadcast crew

Former Channel 8 sports director Matt Kelly has been in a "bubble" for the past month as a cameraman for ESPN's broadcast crew for Top Rank Boxing.

LAS VEGAS – As the NBA prepares for its season restart at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Matt Kelly has already been in a quarantine “bubble” of his own.

The former Channel 8 sports director has been a cameraman for ESPN’s broadcast crew for Top Rank Boxing since June 6, helping with the two fights a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He’s been inside the bubble between his hotel and the MGM Grand’s convention center in Las Vegas ever since he reported for duty.

“It’s different man,” said Kelly, who’s now a freelance cameraman and on-air talent. “I never would have imagined that I’d be a part of anything like it, but it’s kind of cool to be a part of setting the standard of kind of being, ‘guinea pigs’ for what it’s going to look like going forward.”

And how does that look?

Well, Kelly and the roughly 40 members of ESPN’s crew get tested every Sunday and Wednesday.

“I’ve been tested eight times already and obviously they’ve all been negative,” Kelly said.

Luckily, no other crew members have had positive results either, which Kelly credits to the strict guidelines they have to follow.

“We’re not authorized to be in the casino,” Kelly said. “We can’t walk around in the casion. We can’t walk the strip. The only time we’re really outside is when we’re leaving the hotel to go to the convention center and when we’re leaving the convention center to go to the hotel at night.”

Kelly isn’t even allowed to see his family.

“My wife, Gina, and my pups they’re like 7-10 minutes away from where I’m at right now and I can’t go home and see them.”

Still, this is the new normal for covering big time sporting events during a global pandemic. Kelly says he spends most of his time either working on other projects or hanging out in the crew’s game room, with a mask on of course.

Said Kelly, “We’ve got corn hole. We’ve got a ping pong table. We actually have horseshoes back there.”

Kelly is supposed to be out of the bubble within the next couple weeks, but he says he’d do it all over again even knowing what he does now. He’s just learned to appreciate the little things even more.

“With everything the way it is, I’m very fortunate to be working right now,” Kelly said. “At the same time, being a part of what really is history being made in terms of how these broadcasts are going to be put on.”


Categories: National Sports, Sports