Women will play key roles in front of and behind the camera
ESPN will make history tonight, producing the first national broadcast of the NBA game led by an all-female team – both on camera and in pivotal backstage roles – for the Utah Jazz – Golden State game. Warriors tonight at 10 p.m. ET. In addition to women announcing the game on air, the show will be produced by production and operations teams led entirely by women.
“It’s inspiring to work with this great group of women every day, all of whom hold key roles in their respective roles at ESPN and across the industry,” says Patty Mattero, Senior Remote Operations Manager, ESPN. “It’s really exciting to be a part of and celebrate this milestone in the contributions we make every day.”
A total of 33 female ESPN staff and staff will fill critical roles on-site and in the control room at ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut campus. ESPN is producing the game as a “REMI-Pro” broadcast, which means the talent and on-air reporter are on-site, along with the mobile unit and limited crew, but the game is being produced at from a Bristol control room.
Voice play-by-play Beth Mowins will call action alongside analyst Doris Burke and journalist Lisa Salters. In addition, women will be at the forefront as producer, director and technical director and will serve as coordinating producer, associate director, graphic producer and director of operations.
Other roles held by women are Production Manager, Operations Producer, Graphics Operator, Viz Libero Graphics Operator, Five EVS Proofreading Operators, Talent Stats, “Wired” Segment Producer, Editor, Creative Content Producer, Associate Content Manager, GUI Coordinator, Runner, Remote Team Supervisor, Remote Production Operations Team Leader, Utility, Communications, V2 Video Engineer, A2 Sound Engineer, and Production Operations Supervisor.
“This show will hopefully show that there is — and has been — depth in the women who fill the many key roles that touch every aspect of a show,” Mattero says. “In some remote areas, there is more support and growth for women in operational leadership roles and [their need] to continue to progress in all roles within a show.
The production will be one of, otherwise the the largest female-led production of a national sports broadcast in North American history. In March 2020, NBC Sports in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada deployed all-female on-air and producer/director teams for NHL games on International Women’s Day. There have also been several examples of all-female announcement teams in recent years: to TSN for a Raptors-Nuggets NBA broadcast in Canada in March 2021, an MLB Game of the Week Live on YouTube in July 2021, an ESPN Wednesday night baseball broadcast in September 2021 and Fox Sports’ first all-female broadcast in MLS history in 2018, among others.
Mattero, who served in ESPN’s operations department for more than two decades, says she has seen significant progress in industry efforts to develop more women in leadership roles. However, she hopes that female-led events like tonight will become more of an industry norm than a rarity in years to come.
“Individual accomplishments and recognition should bring it closer to the norm, not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ situation,” she says. “I believe the needle has moved in this direction and, with intentional effort, it will be just that. To have a female-led production of a professional sport on national television speaks volumes about the strong commitment of ‘ESPN, and wanting to point it out, is going to a better level.