ESPN To Make History With All-Women–Led NBA-Game Production Tonight
Women will serve in key roles both in front of and behind the camera
ESPN will make history tonight, producing the first NBA-game national broadcast led by an all-women crew — in both on-camera and pivotal behind-the-scenes roles — for the Utah Jazz–Golden State Warriors game tonight at 10 p.m. ET. In addition to women announcing the game on-air, the broadcast will be produced by all-women–led production and operations teams.
“It is inspiring to work every day with this large group of women, all of which hold key roles in their respective positions within ESPN and industry-wide,” says Patty Mattero, senior remote operations manager, ESPN. “It’s definitely exciting to be a part of and celebrate this milestone of our contributions we make on a daily basis.”
In total, 33 female ESPN staff and personnel will occupy pivotal roles onsite and in the control room at ESPN’s Bristol, CT, campus. ESPN is producing the game as a “REMI-Pro” show, meaning that the on-air talent and reporter are onsite, along with the mobile unit and limited crew, but the game is produced from a Bristol control room.
Play-by-play voice Beth Mowins will call the action alongside analyst Doris Burke and reporter Lisa Salters. In addition, women will be at the front bench as producer, director, and technical director and serve as coordinating producer, associate director, graphics producer, and operations manager.
Other roles being filled by women are production manager, operations producer, graphics operator, Viz Libero graphics operator, five EVS replay operators, talent stats, “Wired” segment producer, editor, creative content producer, content associate, graphics interface coordinator, runner, supervisor of remote crewing, manager of remote production operations crewing, utility, comms, V2 video engineer, A2 audio engineer, and supervisor of production operations.
“This show will hopefully display that there is — and has been — depth in women working the many key roles that touch all aspects of a broadcast,” says Mattero. “In some areas on remotes, there is more support and growth for women within ops-leadership roles and [their need] to continue moving up in all roles within a broadcast.”
The production will be one of, if not the largest women-led production of a national sports broadcast in North American history. In March 2020, both NBC Sports in the U.S. 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-women announce teams in recent years: at 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 has served in ESPN’s operations department for more than two decades, says she has seen significant progress in the industry’s efforts to develop more women in leadership roles. However, she hopes that women-led events like tonight will become more the industry standard than a rarity in the coming years.
“Individual achievements and recognition should push it closer to being the norm and not a ‘unique situation,’” she says. “I believe the needle has been moving in that direction, and, with intentional efforts, it will be just that. To showcase a women-led production of a professional sport on national television speaks volumes to ESPN’s strong commitment, and wanting to highlight this is moving towards a better standard.”