By Nate Horgan
Special to Stlouisrams.com
As a young sports fan, Cory Befort didn’t know exactly what he would do for a living when he grew up. But, a desire to be in the world of sports at a young age started him down a path that eventually brought him to St. Louis in 2012 as the motion graphics producer of the Rams Broadcast Network (RBN), a job that he wakes up every morning excited to go to.
With two older brothers who were sports fanatics, Befort followed suit and grew up as an avid fan of college and professional sports. His experiences as a fan sitting in the stands and watching games on TV exposed him to the field that he currently excels in, motion graphics. The videos and commercials that caught his eye as a kid are now what he tries to give back to Rams fans that attend games or watch RBN programming on www.StLouisRams.com.
Befort is responsible for producing graphics used in RBN programs whether it is for one of the network’s three weekly shows or its pre-game montage at the Edward Jones Dome before the Rams take the field. As Befort describes, he is given the task of implementing graphics into RBN videos to make them pop and improve the viewer’s experience.
Befort develops graphics for in-game features on the jumbo tron or the surrounding screens throughout the Dome, as well. A native of Hays, Kansas, he is also responsible for designing several wall murals that are shown throughout the hallways at Rams Park and in the Rams locker room at the dome.
While Befort is most known for his work with video, his transition from traditional flat graphic design to three-dimensional work and motion design was somewhat self-taught. He began working with images in high school where he got experience in the video production department and as the editor for the school’s website. From there he attended nearby Fort Hays State University and earned his degree in graphic design. However, he didn’t learn about the basics of in-game motion graphics until his junior year when he worked as a ballpark entertainment intern in the Houston Astros organization.
After three months with the Astros, Befort received another internship offer, this time from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and a chance to work in the National Football League. Even though he was an avid fan of multiple sports, Befort’s season with the Buccaneers granted him his first chance to work in the sport that he had hoped to be in most.
“It was cool, my first time in professional football,” Befort said. “Growing up I was always a big junkie on sports, loved football more than anything. It was really cool getting that opportunity.”
Those internships proved to be essential in enhancing his skills and becoming a well-rounded graphic designer.
“When I got to Houston and Tampa, I had the opportunity to really focus in on those skills and become more diverse in the whole design aspect,” Befort said. “I was always knew I had a passion for design and it was something that I wanted to do.”
After a season in Tampa Bay, Befort then earned another internship, this time with the Atlanta Falcons. His third internship in professional sports, Atlanta proved to be the final step of his journey before being offered a full-time position with the Rams. Back to his Midwest roots in St. Louis, Befort embraced his travels and experiences because what he learned at his various stops along the way helped to develop his craft.
“Moving from Hays to Houston to Tampa to Atlanta to here, I’ve been a lot of places over the last three years,” Befort said. “But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. In a couple years now I’ve gotten so much knowledge from these guys around the league. I’ve been exposed to so many teams. So, I feel like I have a very unique view of what the NFL is.”
Now with the Rams, Befort has been part of the RBN staff that has won 61 awards for a number of programs and features over the last two years including six Mid-America Emmy Awards among 22 nominations. Along with the five Mid-America Emmys the staff won in 2013, Befort received an individual award for graphic arts.
"It’s cool to be recognized for the hard work we’re doing,” Befort said. “We work countless hours during the season. There are days we could be here at 8:30 in the morning until 10 p.m. or midnight a couple days a week. I know I can speak for the entire department in that none of us would trade it for anything else. There’s nothing like it. It’s what we love to do.”
As a part of RBN, Befort appreciates the awards and accolades, but the recognition and impact on the fans is what he truly enjoys. Along with contributing to the game and fan experiences, game day also serves as an artistic outlet for him.
“It’s basically like an art show every Sunday,” Befort said. “You get to show 66,000 people something you created that you’ve been working really hard on in the offseason and weeks prior to the games. It’s really a feeling you can’t describe.”
Befort's task of enhancing the fan experience through video and connecting fans with the team comes easy to him because of the make-up of the Rams' roster. A 24-year-old, Befort is close in age to a large number of the players, making work with the team an enjoyable duty. St. Louis' young group continues to create an energetic environment for the employees at Rams Park, one that Befort enjoys to work in each day.
“There are so many exciting players here," Befort said. "Everybody’s so young, that’s probably the coolest thing about it. It’s cool to be part of something where we all connect. It’s really easy to talk to everybody. All our players are great. It’s just a really fun, unique experience."