Fox Staff Found Shelter in The Woodlands

The Fox Sports Network Engineering & Operations hub in The Woodlands, Texas, about 40 miles north of Houston, delivered 78 live events over the weekend of the disastrous rainfall and flooding from Hurricane Harvey, even though only about 120 employees were able to be there (about 40% of the staff).

Through last Wednesday (Aug. 30) the live events figure was up to 104, and some employees still were unable to get to the building because of the flood conditions.

About 20 close family members also took residence in the facility, which is the master control center for all 21 of Fox’s regional sports networks.

Fox said a number of employees suffered severe losses in terms of home and vehicle damage. The Woodlands did not receive as much rainfall as Houston, but still had 19 inches of rain as of last Monday (Aug. 28) with more expected that day.

“The company and the facility have come through with flying colors so far,” Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president and chief operating officer, told The Wire. He added: “But that’s not our main concern. It’s the people who actually live in the area, now that it’s only going to get worse from here on out.”

Fox is focused on providing financial assistance, Shanks said, matching contributions to United Way of Greater Houston and priming the pump with $100,000. And 21st Century Fox is setting up an internal fund for employees to apply for grants “to repair whatever they need to repair, living expenses, to get back to where they need to be.”

Shanks said the facility was designed to be able to live out of: “walk-in freezers, sides of beef, red beans and rice cooking every day, showers, everything.” Hot water, though, has been in short supply.

This article appears in the Sept. 4 edition of Multichannel News's Through the Wire.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.