Behind The Scenes

ESPN transforms amusement park into ‘baseball carnival’ for LLWS

Bristol-area Little Leaguers participated in ESPN’s three-day production at Lake Compounce.
(Credit: Rich Arden/ESPN)

For three days this week, the 427-acre Lake Compounce family theme park in Bristol, Conn. has been overrun with youthful baseball fans celebrating summer.

But enough about the ESPN Creative Content crew. . .

ESPN employees actually were at the park to film dozens of 11-and-12 year-olds enjoying a “baseball carnival” for segments to be used in ESPN’s Little League World Series championship coverage from Williamsport, Pa. later this month.

Lake Compounce, located a stone’s throw from ESPN’s headquarters and now in its 167th season — it is the oldest, continuously-operating amusement park in North America — was transformed into a baseball wonderland. You can see additional photos by clicking here.

Familiar venues and amusement rides assumed baseball motifs for the shoot, the results you’ll see as the Little League World Series championship rounds unfold across ESPN platforms Aug. 16-26. Several ESPN outlets will present 34 regional games beginning Friday, Aug. 3.

“We’ve brought the Little League World Series to the theme park and created ‘The Clubhouse,’” said John Bartmon, a post-producer in ESPN’s Event Production unit.

Some of the Little Leaguers were recruited via ESPN’s family-oriented Employee Resource Group, E-FAM.

“It’s a special thing to be able to include so many [members] of the ESPN family in this,” said Bartmon said.

He explained that Matt Sandulli, who is ESPN’s coordinating producer for the Little League World Series coverage, drew inspiration for this idea from attending a youth baseball event last year. Sandulli saw kids running around a park having fun.

“[Sandulli] said, ‘This is what the tease should be. This should be [about] kids running around a park and having fun, but add a baseball twist,” Bartmon said.

“Not only did we get everything that we wanted, but we got so much more. The kids, the people who are working on this . . .it’s been a great project. And I want to thank the Lake Compounce people, who have been a huge part of this as well.

Rich Chmela, an Associate Producer at ESPN, doubles as an umpire in the promos.
(Credit: Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
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