Behind The Scenes

ESPN Emerging Technology aids NCAA men’s lacrosse officiating with invention of the Stall Warning Device

In September 2012, the NCAA implemented a stall warning procedure for men’s lacrosse to include a 30-second time frame for the offensive team to take a shot — or risk losing possession.

Working with the NCAA, ESPN’s Emerging Technology division constructed a Stall Warning Device for the referees to wear during ESPN televised games. The referee flips the switch at the start of the Stall Warning, and the production truck produces a countdown clock graphic.

It will be used again at the 2013 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Presented by Northwestern Mutual, set to air on ESPN networks Saturday and Monday from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Front Row talked with Anthony Bailey, vice president for Emerging Technology, about ESPN’s newest creation.

Where did the concept for this device come from?
We repurposed technology that has been used in past events such as the X Games and the Great Outdoors Games. Dave Casamona, director, Emerging Technology, designed and developed the device at the Emerging Technology Innovation Lab at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla. Emerging Technology is always looking to bring fans closer to the game through innovative production enhancements.

What was the process for developing the device?
We met with the NCAA in December to discuss the initial concept. With their approval and support, we tested the first device in February at a Johns Hopkins/Michigan game. Each week, we have talked with the referees to gather their feedback to assist us in refining and enhancing the product.

How does it enhance the overall experience for the fans at home?
The stall warning can be a point of drama in the game. It is a moment when something critical may happen such as a shot, a goal or a turnover and we wanted the fan to be able to see both the action and the clock at the same time. We know that championship weekend is an event that is “community viewing” and we wanted to give the audience that may be new to lacrosse a simple way to understand this unique aspect of the game.

Can this technology be used for future sporting events or other sports?
This was developed specifically to enhance lacrosse, but if we see that it can be used for another sport, we will look to implement it.

In the video above, ESPNU’s Paul Carcaterra and NCAA Division I Lacrosse official Kevin O’Leary discuss the device. The video below demonstrates the use of the Stall Warning Device.

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