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Live From NCAA Men's Lacrosse National Championship: ESPN Travels Down I-95 to Familiar Lincoln Financial Field

27/05/2024

Live From NCAA Men's Lacrosse National Championship: ESPN Travels Down I-95 to Familiar Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia has hosted three of the five title games since 2019 By Kristian Hern ndez, Senior Editor

Monday, May 27, 2024 - 9:00 am

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Passionate sports fans and Philadelphia go hand in hand, so it's not surprising that the City of Brotherly Love has become a destination for the NCAA Men's Lacrosse National Championship. Hosting the title game for the seventh time overall - just behind Maryland and Rutgers since the sport joined the NCAA in 1971 - and the third time in the last five tournaments, Lincoln Financial Field is friendly confines for ESPN's production and operations teams.

We've been there several times in the past decade, so familiarization is helpful, says John Kettering, producer, ESPN. All of our technicians have been here before, so they know how this place runs.

Back-to-Back Productions: Team Works in Recognizable Surroundings The crew has frequented this venue on numerous occasions, including for last year's National Championship. When a broadcaster and its crews have the chance to work in the same venue in consecutive years, the job is definitely less of a lift: from understanding sightlines and knowing what works - or not - from a production standpoint to knowing the cabling situation and the best camera positions from an operations perspective. In addition, Kettering has worked closely with NCAA Coordinator, Championships and Alliances, Broadcast Services, Tom Barrett to satisfy the organization's broadcast needs.

Lincoln Financial Field is hosting its eighth National Championship in its 21-year history.

Our operations team is also very familiar with the team that works at Lincoln Financial Field, says Kettering. They're all professional and extremely helpful, which makes it a lot easier for us to get set up.

With a well-rounded venue ops team, a healthy working relationship with the NCAA, and a blueprint for how the event is done, the broadcaster has significant tech firepower to deploy. Working out of the A and B units of Game Creek Video Nitro, Kettering and his team will tap into numerous workflows and enhancements, including a Skycam, an abundance of Marshall POV cameras for atmospheric shots from around the stadium, and miked-up referees for clear explanation of critical calls.

We're certainly elevating our complement and increasing the number of cameras exponentially, adds Kettering. We always want to have more bells and whistles for coverage on the game's biggest stage of the year.

Two Tourneys: Besides Philly-Based Shows, There's Women's Lacrosse in North Carolina Men's lacrosse may be taking over South Philadelphia, but 410 miles south in Cary, NC, ESPN wrapped up coverage of women's college lacrosse with the National Championship on Sunday. In what has become an annual tradition on Memorial Day Weekend, the broadcaster logged four straight days of productions: a women's semifinal doubleheader on Friday, a men's semifinal doubleheader featuring No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 5 Denver and No. 7 Maryland vs. No. 6 Virginia on Saturday, the women's title game on Sunday, and the men's title game on Monday. Besides four consecutive days of activity, the team had to overcome a big logistical hurdle in deploying a single production crew and a single operational team to handle simultaneous championships in separate locations. Fortunately, Kettering is joined by a team of experienced veterans, including SVP, Production, Michael Shiffman and Coordinating Producer Ericka Galbraith. Shiffman, for example, has been pivotal in coordinating ACC Network studio programming during concurrent events like the Men's and Women's Final Four.

We have a team in Cary that's responsible for women's lacrosse, and my team is responsible for men's lacrosse in Philadelphia, Kettering explains. [Michael, Ericka, and I] oversee the overall production of both tournaments. We're here to support everything that's needed to put each production on, but, once the teams get onsite, it's up to them to carry out the actual show.

A Skycam system is capturing aerial shots of the action.

Producing the two tournaments requires a ton of planning and collaboration before the teams go their separate ways. From a creative point of view, on-air talent and the front bench must understand the storylines of the respective brackets. Whether that takes sifting through copious amounts of film to dissect players' or teams' tendencies for analysis or combing through player or coach interviews to get a sense of playing styles or philosophies, a clear plan of attack with talking points needs to be established.

Because of ESPN's commitment to NCAA men's and women's lacrosse throughout the season, says Galbraith, our team [is positioned] not only to be aware of various storylines but also to develop relationships across both sports to accentuate remarkable stories. Our talent works together to share ideas and opportunities, and, truly, the hardest part in identifying storylines is knowing we can't tell them all.

Game Creek Video's Nitro A and B are being used in Philadelphia.

For Monday's title game, the other juggling act for the broadcaster is to produce this game while also planning for next year's championship at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. With a venue that has hosted three of the last 12 Championship Weekends and back-to-back editions in 2017 and 2018, ESPN is looking to leverage a successful formula.

We're already planning a site visit to Gillette next month to make sure everything is up to standard and is the same as in the past, says Kettering. We're not looking past
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/05/27/live-from-ncaa-mens-lacrosse-na...
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