ESPN’s WNBA Draft coverage uses multiple sets, virtual gym

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ESPN’s production of the WNBA Draft relied on multiple studios from Bristol to New York City along with a virtual set for interviews with draftees.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced draft picks from a redecorated Studio 1 at ESPN’s South Street Seaport facility, normally the home of morning program “Get Up.”

Meanwhile, in Bristol, Ryan Ruocco and analysts Rebecca Lobo and LaChina Robinson utilized the desk inside Studio E while a large LED video wall highlighted the order of events and virtual guests.

The LED video wall inside Studio E for the WNBA Draft. Photo courtesy of ESPN Images.

This wall, part of a second set added to the studio in early 2020, has become a staple of ESPN’s recent virtual event coverage including the NBA Draft and the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

For interviews, reporter Holly Rowe used the network’s chromakey area in Studio Y. Eleven fly packs were sent to players’ watch parties to help facilitate these interviews and to capture reaction shots live.

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The virtual set for Rowe recreated a basketball team’s training facility with a faux monitor cart for the guest interview. Around the “gym,” which was powered by Vizrt, virtual banners highlighted the team that picked the player. 

This was ESPN’s second year hosting a virtual WNBA Draft, having quickly pivoted after the pandemic locked down the world in spring 2020. Last year’s production, however, was mostly remote with only a small studio footprint.