NBC Sports Brings Production Innovations to Inaugural Premier League Lacrosse Season
Innovations include player-to-commentator comms, shot-speed tracking, Skycam, and miked players
NBC Sports will deploy a bevy of innovative production elements for its coverage of the inaugural Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) season — in-game player-to-commentator communication, SMT Shot Speed tracking technology, Skycam on multiple games, miked-up players and coaches — and the use of players as commentators throughout the season.
The inaugural PLL season begins this Saturday, June 1, at 1 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium and is available exclusively on NBC Sports Gold’s Premier Lacrosse League Pass. The PLL’s opening-weekend coverage continues Saturday at 4 p.m. with Whipsnakes-Chaos on NBC Sports Gold, with the first live televised game on Sunday, June 2 at 1:30 p.m. on NBCSN when Atlas LC takes on Redwoods LC.
“We are constantly looking for ways to innovate our programs and create the most enjoyable viewing experience possible for fans at home,” says Dan Steir, SVP, production, NBC Sports. “This is an amazing sport featuring incredible athletes, and we think our production approach will showcase the sport of lacrosse in ways that will bring fans closer to the game.”
Says PLL co-founder and Atlas LC midfielder Paul Rabil, “This summer, the PLL will be televised live to millions of homes across the country. NBC’s innovative broadcast and technological advancements will showcase our players and game in ways that have never been done in the history of pro sports. This weekend marks a new era for lacrosse, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring the world closer to the game.”
For the first time in the sport of lacrosse, NBC Sports is implementing player-to-commentator communication for every game of the PLL season. Two players on the field, focusing on the goalie and attack positions, will be able to communicate with the NBC Sports PLL broadcast team of Paul Burmeister (host), Brendan Burke (play-by-play), Ryan Boyle (analyst) and Chantel McCabe (reporter) throughout the game, offering viewers an inside-the-game perspective. Supported by Gubser & Schnakenberg (GSC), these communication applications will be implemented via the goalie’s helmet.
In conjunction with SMT, NBC Sports will install an array of sensors at each end of the field for each PLL game to track shot speed from a variety of angles, using SMT’s lacrosse intelligence engine to provide real-time speed tracking. This technology has never been used before for lacrosse.
Although Skycam is typically deployed for lacrosse only three times per year — by ESPN at the NCAA Men’s Semifinals and Championship Game — NBC Sports will implement the technology for multiple games throughout the PLL season. Now a standard element in NFL broadcasts, Skycam has also been used for NBA, NHL, NASCAR, and PGA coverage and NCAA basketball.
Each week during the PLL season, various players and coaches across the six teams will be wired so that fans can hear on-field commentary throughout the games.
Players as Commentators
Also new for lacrosse, NBC Sports will have a player from one of the six PLL teams not playing join Burmeister to call a portion of the game from the field. This inside look will allow fans to meet and learn more about their favorite players from across the league, while hearing insights from active players as the game unfolds.
PLL Carried Across NBC Sports Platforms
Comprehensive coverage of the inaugural 2019 PLL season continues throughout the summer across NBC Sports, with three games on NBC and 16 on NBCSN. All 39 of the PLL games — including All-Star Weekend and Skills Competition — will be live-streamed on NBC Sports Gold’s Premier Lacrosse League Pass, with 20 games exclusive to subscribers. NBC Sports Gold is powered by Playmaker Media, NBC Sports Digital’s technology service, which provides end-to-end support for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions.