Behind The Scenes

ESPN’s Bristol campus welcomes return of WNBA Draft

Editor’s note: Enjoy this time-lapse video of ESPN Studio E’s transformation into WNBA Draft headquarters today.

The WNBA Draft presented by Boost Mobile returns to ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus.

Today, we’re home to 15 of the world’s top college basketball seniors who await selection. Coverage of the first round will begin at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2, followed by the second and third rounds televised on ESPNU and NBA TV from 3-4:30 p.m.

WNBA Draft coverage of the first round will begin at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2

The entire Draft – three rounds of 12 picks each – will be simulcast on ESPN3. Last year’s event marked the first professional sports league draft held at ESPN.

ESPN employees involved in the 2011 hosting process reflect on it entering Year 2.

Bess Barnes – Director, Programming & Acquisitions
I think the biggest difference from last year to this year is that we already knew we could execute it. We spent a lot of time last year trying to figure out if it was even feasible from a facility perspective. This year we were able to take the model from the 2011 event and use that as a base.

Brian Boyle – Producer
We were very happy with last year’s telecast, so we did not make any massive changes for 2012. We have two noteworthy aspects of the production – adding a second remote location and we will be following all 15 athletes for All-Access segments, more than last’s year one with Maya Moore.

Ty Frison – Coordinating Director
From the production side, we are very much following the blueprint that we worked so hard to establish last year. We learned about the needs and expectations to put on an event of this magnitude and we thought it made sense to follow the same successful plan. Besides a few studio tweaks and added virtual elements, the broadcast will be very similar to the 2011 WNBA Draft.

Timi Jordan – Director, Event Marketing
Having the Sunday Fitness Day and Draft take place on campus brought an air of excitement to ESPN. The Sunday event provided a memorable experience for ESPN staff and their families, while the Draft further strengthened the existing partnership and exemplifies ESPN’s dedication to the future of women’s sport.

Laura Sutherland – Senior Operations Coordinator
My department oversees a lot of the logistics. The takeaway from the inaugural event was feedback on the entire experience from the WNBA and how it conveyed to the viewer. We saw huge smiles and heard laughs as the players went thru the studios.

But, sometimes being the second year isn’t always the easiest. ESPN is constantly undergoing growth and construction around campus. Space was the biggest concern last year and is again this year.

Bobby Zollinger — Manager, Facilities Service Center
This year has been easier on Facilities because we fostered the necessary relationships last year to pull off another successful event. The obvious differences from our standpoint are utilizing two new venues: The KidsCenter Gym for the Sunday Fitness Day and a tent on the basketball court for friends and family of the draftees.

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