During his time at Chapman, Ian Decker was the water polo team’s last line of defense. As a goaltender, it comes down to your ability to control the situation and adjust to the incoming attack, much like the role of a Technical Director (TD).
“One of the most important parts of working live events is the ability to maintain composure when things don’t go as planned,” stated Decker. You must make adjustments as needed, which was a skill that I developed primarily through sports.”
Decker no longer has control over the events occurring in the Allred Olympic Pool, but instead is the vital hand in running the production video switcher located in an unparalleled sports and entertainment hub, SoFi Stadium.
SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams, hosts a unique and immersive fan experience. As the Technical Director for both the Rams and Chargers, Decker has played a huge part in re-imagining and shaping what that fan experience has become over the last two years.
“I’ve had the opportunity to help set up new stadiums such as Banc of California Stadium, or be a part of updating iconic ones such as the Coliseum or LSU’s tiger stadium,” said Decker. “In the 2018-2019 NFL season I was hired to provide event support for the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, and by the end of that season I was confident that I belonged on the in-person side of sports entertainment.”
Decker majored in Television and Broadcast Journalism at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. He started as a camera operator for live sports when he was a freshman working with the Big West Conference to broadcast games on ESPN’s digital platform. He eventually became the TD of the broadcast which opened many doors for him moving forward.
“If you’ve ever seen a clip of a live broadcast where the director is yelling “Ready camera 5, Cut to camera 5!” I’m the person they’re yelling at,” said Decker. “I have a board with hundreds of buttons that have all been programmed for specific effects, whether it be cutting between cameras, transitioning in and out of replays, bringing different graphics on screen, or creating composites of different video sources.”
Being a Chapman athlete on the men’s water polo team helped Decker shape mental skills that are vital in his ability to perform his job today. His dedication to preparation allowed him to succeed in the pool and now propels him to success when the lights are on and the football game begins.
“So much of the process and mentality required for athletic success has translated to my current line of work. Preparation for each show is vital, practicing sequences, sharpening fundamental skills, and identifying potential challenges are an imperative part of every show.”
Decker has a large hand in the functionality of all in-venue games at SoFi, down to the ability of the coaches to access replays quickly to challenge a call. His years in the pool helped him craft the mentality and work ethic needed to excel in the fast paced environment that is live production.