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South Hills native crafts video at center of Pittsburgh’s NFL Draft pitch

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Tim Oxenreiter needed just five days to craft a video that packs a whole lot of Pittsburgh into 63 seconds.

Book-ended by Acrisure Stadium and the picturesque Point State Park, Oxenreiter’s latest ode to his hometown laid on the local mythology thick as part of the region’s pitch to host the 2026 NFL Draft.

It worked.

The video spins around fireworks exploding over the Allegheny River, a trip on the Gateway Clipper, and an eye-popping tour of the Andy Warhol Museum. Viewers grab a drink, ride an incline and float above the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

It pauses for a moment, of course, at the sight of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ storied, six Lombardi trophies. Oxenreiter even throws in a Primanti’s sandwich — fries, slaw and all.

“What I think that video sells is that Pittsburgh is more than just steel mills, more than just the Steelers,” said David Safin, a Saint Vincent College professor who taught Oxenreiter in several classes at the Latrobe-based Benedictine college. “There’s more to this place than Terrible Towels. And that’s the sort of thing that gets the NFL calling.”

Oxenreiter, an up-and-coming videographer, doesn’t reject the local-boy-makes-good narrative, partly because it fits.

Raised in Pittsburgh’s South Hills — Upper St. Clair, to be specific — Oxenreiter attended Central Catholic High School and Saint Vincent College before moving to the New York City area in 2016 to work at NFL Films. He boomeranged back to Pittsburgh shortly thereafter.

Yes, the name should sound familiar — his uncle is longtime Pittsburgh sportscaster Alby Oxenreiter.

Oxenreiter started his production company, the appropriately named Ox Productions, back in 2011 as an outlet for posting aspiring viral content to YouTube.

The company, today based in a Mt. Washington studio, has worked with local clients from VisitPittsburgh and Rivers Casino to Dollar Bank and Dick’s Sporting Goods, Oxenreiter said. National clients have included CBS Sports and Nike.

“I think this video was kind of the perfect storm — being from Pittsburgh and having all these years of servicing other businesses, other companies in the area,” said Oxenreiter, 30, of Mt. Washington. “Being born and raised here, having such a connection to Pittsburgh, it was kind of a cool moment to see how these backgrounds came together.”

On May 23, a who’s who of Pennsylvania leaders — Governor Josh Shapiro, Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey — announced that the NFL would be staging its 2026 Draft in the Steel City. Steelers President Art Rooney II even provided the lead-in to Oxenreiter’s video.

Oxenreiter put together the video after VisitPittsburgh emailed him about the NFL Draft pitch in late January. He previously had shot videos and other projects for the tourism agency and had a week to turn in the final product.

For Oxenreiter, the must-include images were the city’s bridges. VisitPittsburgh gave him a lot of leeway to decide what to include or not include, he said.

“Really, it came down to, ‘What are the can’t-miss moments for Pittsburgh, as well as the stuff people didn’t know about like Astrobotics?’” said Oxenreiter, who called the final product a “hype video.” “We just wanted something that popped and was energetic.”

Safin knew a decade ago that Oxenreiter would be the perfect fit to sell the nation on the charms of Pittsburgh.

Safin, himself a Saint Vincent alum who today works there as an associate professor of digital art media, taught Oxenreiter in a number of classes, including ones revolving around videography and documentary filmmaking.

“His videos were always very polished, very clever,” Safin said. The NFL Draft video “is a punchy, short, well-polished and well-produced video that millions of people are going to see. That’s his sweet spot. And that’s not an easy thing.”

Safin has kept in touch with Oxenreiter since his graduation from Saint Vincent in 2016.

“I’ve got to follow him on his journey and that’s something that I think is unique to St. Vincent,” he said. “It’s a lifelong thing here. It’s not just about the four years you’re here.”

VisitPittsburgh works with a number of freelance content creators. They had a hunch Oxenreiter was uniquely positioned for the second of two videos in the agency’s NFL Draft pitch, according to spokeswoman Emily Hatfield.

The first video focused on Pittsburgh’s rich football roots.

“The video Tim produced was strategically designed to focus on the diverse, non-football experiences and attractions that together create an authentic Pittsburgh experience for visitors,” Hatfield said.

“As the travel and tourism agency for Allegheny County, we have the privilege of working daily with the partners and attractions showcased, and this video allows us to extend an open invitation to NFL fans across the country to join us in Pittsburgh for 2026 and experience all our destination has to offer,” added Jerad Bachar, the tourism agency’s president and CEO.

“It’s always great to work with native vendors, like Tim, who are passionate about Pittsburgh and know our local product well.”

The NFL Draft used to be held annually in New York City. In 2015, it started rotating through host cities.

From April 25 to 27, the draft’s 89th session took place in Detroit, drawing record-breaking crowds that exceeded 775,000 people.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called the NFL Draft “one of the biggest, most-anticipated sporting events of the year.” Pittsburgh, the longtime home of an iconic NFL franchise, is a great fit for the event in 2026, he said.

“We have a unique opportunity to spotlight this wonderful community on a global stage, benefiting Pittsburgh’s economy and entertaining football fans from all markets,” Goodell said. “We know this pride of Pennsylvania will shine bright in 2026.”

Goodell told reporters last month he never envisioned the NFL Draft would become as popular an event as it has become.

“I think Detroit, just going back to reflect on that, was incredible,” said Goodell during a May 22 media availability in Nashville. “The passion of the fans, and their enthusiasm for the event, it was just extraordinary. That’s the best way to say it.

“We were in a really great position (in New York) — it just turned out that the facility wasn’t available on the given year and we said, now is the time, let’s go,” he added. “I don’t think we’re looking back. I think we’re looking forward, including Pittsburgh.”

Matt Farago thinks Pittsburgh is lucky to have someone like Oxenreiter. A voice-over artist and the creative marketing manager at PPG Paints Arena, Farago got to know Oxenreiter while growing up in Moon Township.

The pair have collaborated previously, such as on a video promoting the Backyard Brawl between the Pitt Panthers and WVU’s Mountaineers. Oxenreiter is currently working on a video for the nonprofit Farago is launching this year.

“I think that’s the great thing about Tim — he’s able to do so many different things,” said Farago, 32, of Mt. Washington. “It’s interesting how fast Tim went from viral videos, making them for fun, and has turned this into a huge business.”

Oxenreiter hopes Pittsburghers start to associate his company with video work the same way they see Dave DiCello as an icon on local photography.

“We’re just really proud to be in Pittsburgh,” he said. “The next step is to keep growing, but also to have fun doing what I’m doing. That’s the goal.”

Justin Vellucci is a TribLive reporter covering crime and public safety in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. A longtime freelance journalist and former reporter for the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, he worked as a general assignment reporter at the Trib from 2006 to 2009 and returned in 2022. He can be reached at jvellucci@triblive.com.

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