Employee Spotlight | Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with Daniel Casados
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are highlighting a few of our employees of Hispanic and Latino descent!
Daniel Casados is our Director, Game Presentation! See what he shared about his culture and get an inside peek into what a virtual playoff game looked like for his team.
What does being Hispanic mean to you?
Being Hispanic means a lot to me. I think the culture is very much about love, loyalty and honor. One of the biggest things for me is to never forget where you came from. No matter where I live and what my position is, I never forget who I am and who were the people in my life that helped me.
Describe your Hispanic roots.
My father was born in Tampico, Mexico and my mom was born in San Antonio, Texas. I was raised learning both English and Spanish at the same time.
Who are some Hispanic people that you look up to? Why do you look up to them?
My parents are two people I looked up to. Although they did not always have much, they always made sure that my brother and I had what we needed and had a lot that we wanted. They always made sure to go out of their way to make sure we were happy and they always made an effort to take us places to make sure we had good experiences. My dad worked until he was 82, so hard work has always been right in front of me.
What are some of your favorite things about Hispanic culture?
I’m big on color so I love the vibrancy of the Hispanic culture. It’s full of yellows, oranges, pinks, etc. In San Antonio, there is a huge event called FIESTA that takes over the city for about a week and a half. It’s so full of color, music, food, drinks, and fun. That fun atmosphere and fellowship of friends and family is what I like about the Hispanic culture.
What is your favorite Hispanic dish?
I’m a big taco person, but I prefer Texas tacos over California tacos. I love carne asada in any form or fashion. Ironically, I grew up not liking Mexican food that much but I do love tacos, chalupas and enchiladas.
What did your day look like preparing for and during a playoff game?
Preparing for Playoff Virtual games was a lot different than preparing for a “normal” game. Although I’ve never worked in a Control Room, I had to learn a new system and basically serve as a Game Director and Technical Director during the game. As to where we can normally create a game rundown and let our STAPLES Center Control Room put together all of the graphics, videos and animations, that fell on me during the Playoffs. Once the rundown was completed, I had to put in every single graphic, animation, video, movie clips and piece of b-roll and place it in our system in order.
Favorite part of virtual fan experience/least favorite?
There were a couple of favorite parts.
1) I was just happy to be back in the “director’s seat” and working games, even if it was virtual.
2) It was very rewarding to learn something new with our entire department and effectively put on a show for our virtual fans. We heard from so many fans that it was such a fun experience even though they were sitting in front of a computer and cheering. Those are always the moments/comments that make it worth it.
3) We were a trendsetter this postseason. From our Fan Zone in the app, our pregame pump sessions, to our Virtual Fan Experience, several teams reached out during the Playoff run to ask how we were doing this. Anytime you can be the first to do something in sports, it’s very gratifying.
The least favorite was having to rely on technology so much. When you’re executing something that’s still very new, and you have several stakeholders like Microsoft and the NBA, it’s a challenge. Luckily, we have a wonderful IT team who really rose to the occasion and did everything in their power to make this work and make the process easier.
Biggest challenge of having all aspects of game presentation be virtual?
I think the biggest challenge is getting that energy in the Virtual Fan rooms to translate into the arena to create some sort of advantage. With us engaging our fans so much in the rooms, you could tell a difference of the looks of our fans in Orlando. However, the continued challenge will be how to create a home court advantage for our team through videos, music and fan sound effects.
Any new takeaways that you are going to implement when we can get back to STAPLES Center?
By the second round of the Playoffs, we were treating our pregame a lot like a TV broadcast with our hosts recapping previous games and putting game footage to it. I think that’s something we’re going to look into more when games get back to “normal.” We also ran a lot of promotions that tested fans’ knowledge on movies, music and sitcoms. Because we are in Los Angeles, I think these promotions are very relevant and a lot of fun for our fans. We’ll definitely try to get a sponsor on some of these promotions and run them more often.
I think the fun thing about the Virtual Fans Experience is that it was such a smaller and intimate setting than an arena. There were certain things you could do that you couldn’t get away with in-arena, like running clips after a bad call or to poke slight fun at the opposing team. While that won’t be something that necessarily carries over to the arena, we did do better in pulling movie/show clips that fit game scenarios and made our fans laugh. So those clips are definitely something we’ll increase.