ESPN Brings Fresh Take, Innovations to Premier Lacrosse League Broadcasts

Ross Production Services is packaging the broadcaster's inaugural 47-game PLL slate

The Premier Lacrosse League officially entered the ESPN era over the weekend, kicking off its first season of a four-year TV-rights deal (reportedly with an eight-figure price tag) with the network. Although the North American pro league is new to ESPN, the broadcaster is among the most well-versed in the sport, thanks to its long-running NCAA lacrosse coverage. And ESPN is looking to bring the same level of storytelling and innovation seen on its NCAA Men’s and Women’s Championship coverage to its PLL coverage.

“We’re thrilled to have ESPN as the home of lacrosse with nearly year-round coverage,” says ESPN Coordinating Producer Ericka Galbraith. “The PLL is a natural extension and next level for NCAA athletes. While the ‘look and feel’ of the broadcast will be different, storytelling will still be at the core while leveraging unparalleled coverage enhancements in the years to come.”

Inside the Ross Production Services truck on the PLL’s opening weekend with ESPN in Albany

The PLL, which comprises eight teams, travels to a new city to play four games each weekend en route to the PLL Playoffs in September (to be held in Boston; Washington, DC; and Philadelphia). ESPN’s inaugural PLL schedule includes 12 games on its linear platforms (three on ESPN, three on ESPN2, and two regular-season games and the Championship on ABC), with all 47 games — the most in PLL history — to be streamed live on ESPN+.

ESPN has partnered with packager and facilities provider Ross Production Services for its first season of PLL coverage. All productions will originate from each weekend’s host city with a Ross Production Services truck and full crew onsite.

As it did for opening weekend in Albany the past two days, ESPN is looking to bring a new level of on-field access never before seen in live lacrosse coverage to its PLL broadcasts.

ESPN is looking to leverage its long history in college lacrosse for its first season of PLL broadcasts.

“Balance is going to be key for us,” says Galbraith. “We’re hoping to capitalize on the unfettered access to players and coaches; leverage innovative mics, cameras, and technology while ensuring we don’t lose sight of storytelling and humanizing players throughout the game.”

Having deployed either a Skycam or Spidercam wired aerial system for NCAA Lacrosse Championships coverage for several years, ESPN is looking to bring angles rarely seen by lacrosse fans, using a variety of robos, Marshall POVs, pole cams, and net cams in its coverage. Galbraith adds that the broadcaster will look to enhance its coverage of high-profile games: the ABC regular-season broadcasts (June 18 and Aug. 13), PLL All-Star Game on ESPN (July 16), Championship Game on ABC (Sept. 18).

“Our plan is to continue to add, enhance, and adjust along the way based on the venue, capabilities, and production exploration,” says Galbraith. “I’m really looking forward to untapped potential in this space.”

In addition to the visual side of the broadcasts, ESPN hopes to take audiences inside the sound on the field via on-field microphones.

“Audio is one of the areas I’m most excited about,” says Galbraith “Under-the-helmet talkbacks, live mics, and inside the huddle with coach’s audio — the access to these players and coaches is next level.”

From left: Anish Shroff, Ryan Boyle, and Paul Carcaterra were in the booth for ESPN during PLL opening weekend in Albany.

In terms of on-air talent, play-by-play duties will be handled by lacrosse regulars Anish ShroffChris CotterJay AlterDrew Carter, and Jake Marsh. Game analysts include the mainstays of ESPN’s college-lacrosse coverage: Quint Kessenich, Paul CarcaterraRyan Boyle, and Sheehan Stanwick-Burch. And reporters will include familiar faces from across ESPN properties: Katie GeorgeRoddy JonesChantel McCabe, and Dana Boyle, along withStanwick-Burch.

ESPN Reporter Katie George reported from the sidles during PLL’s Week 1 in Albany.

Following whirlwind back-to-back weekends featuring the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Championships and PLL opener, the lacrosse production team is looking to build on that momentum and use this PLL season as a way to further grow the game.

“The lacrosse team is truly one of the most selfless, dedicated, authentic, and passionate teams I’ve been part of,” says Galbraith. “Working with the amazing team of talented people from the PLL, Ross Production, and ESPN has been invigorating on every level. The growth potential for this sport is right in front of us, and we’re going to do everything in our power to deliver high-quality, thoughtful broadcasts to new and existing lacrosse fans everywhere.”



Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters


The Latest in Sports Video Production & Technology
in Your Inbox for FREE

Daily Email Newsletters Monday - Friday