ESPN’s College GameDay will broadcast live from James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, VA on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023 on the Quad in front of Wilson Hall. On Wednesday Nov. 16, a fleet of ESPN trucks arrived and began setting up for Saturday’s show. We were attending a performance at JMU’s Forbes Center across the street on Thursday evening and we walked around the Quad taking pictures of the ESPN circus prior to our performance.
The Quad was a major part of the original design of what later became James Madison University. It was “an expanse of aesthetically-pleasing lawn surrounded by symmetrically arranged buildings meant to convey an atmosphere of dignified order, and designed to enable efficient travel between campus buildings.” The Quad extends from S. Main St. to Wilson Hall and encompasses about 4.6 acres between the long sidewalks on its northeast and southwest sides. There is a satellite view of the Quad in the Additional Images gallery below which shows the locations where the photos in the Additional Images gallery were taken.
From what we could see on the Quad, the ESPN College GameDay fleet includes seven tractor-trailers for equipment and personnel, two mobile television production tractor-trailers, several smaller trailers, a satellite van, two tall rental lifts which are heavily guyed, and a large bus-style camper. Reports indicate that there were 80 to 90 ESPM employees involved in the setup. The entire ESPN area was surrounded by metal barriers and there were several individuals on duty to keep passers-by out of the enclosed area. Photo #10 shows mats and plywood where the tractor-trailers were driven over the grass and local TV news coverage showed them placing mats and plywood where the tractor-trailer wheels would rest.
All of the photos were taken with our iPhone 11s between 7:30 PM and 7:40 PM on Thursday 11/16/23. The first image is a Google satellite view of the Quad which shows the locations where the photos were taken. The ESPN equipment covers much of the 4.6 acre Quad area. I have added two images of the live GameDay taken from ESPN clips on YouTube to show the actual GameDay appearance.
JMU History and Context: The Quad: https://sites.lib.jmu.edu/historyandcontext/2019/04/13/the-quad/
JMU Campus Map: https://map.jmu.edu/?id=1869#!ct/49588,49581?s/?sbc/