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ESPN – Golden openings: Behind the scenes with Vegas’ pregame show

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LAS VEGAS — Jonny Greco grew up wanting to make movies. When he graduated from Full Sail University in Orlando with a film degree 20 years ago, he dreamed of one day telling stories and directing elaborate productions that people all over the country would be talking about.

Greco’s dream has come true in an unlikely way with an unlikely team in the midst of one of the most unlikely runs in sports history.

As the vice president of entertainment and production for the Vegas Golden Knights, Greco builds the stories for the start of each home game, which have gone viral during the expansion team’s improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final. The walls of his office are filled with storyboards of different openings and pictures of various costumes and props he would like to see incorporated into a show that has grown more grand with each round.

“We had two stories planned before each round, one for each possible opponent,” Greco said. “So for the conference finals we knew if we played Winnipeg we were going to cut a jet in half on the ice. If we played Nashville, we were going to bring out a live tiger onto the ice and maybe do something with cutting his fake saber-tooth teeth off. Could we have done it? Who knows? But we had the discussions.”

When you’re in a city like Las Vegas, no idea is too crazy or impossible when it comes to entertaining the crowd.

“The stakes are higher in Vegas,” Greco said. “In this town, they can see Cirque du Soleil, they can see David Copperfield, they can see all these incredible shows but this is different, right? It’s sports and we want to build that home-ice advantage.”

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