ESPN2 and ESPNU are ready for the culmination of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Presented by Northwestern Mutual on Saturday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend, from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. ESPN2 will air the traditional feed of the title game on Monday (1 p.m. ET), and for the third straight year, ESPNU will present an alternate viewing experience from the flyover camera in the stadium.
With ESPNU as the home for ESPN’s season-long lacrosse coverage, the SpiderCam feed is a natural fit for the 24-hour college sports network.
Championship action begins Saturday with the semifinals on ESPN2 featuring No. 1 seed Notre Dame versus No. 4 seed Denver at 1 p.m. ET, followed by Johns Hopkins versus No. 6 seed Maryland at 3:30 p.m.
ESPN senior coordinating producer John Vassallo gives Front Row a look into the technology and what fans can expect from the non-traditional feed on ESPNU.
How has the flyover technology changed since first being present at the Lacrosse Championship?
We shifted from the SkyCam (used since 2010) to the SpiderCam in 2014 year to mirror what Monday Night Football was using at the time (first used in 2010 on ESPN tennis). To be on the same platform as our colleagues helped us to navigate the learning curve on how to cover the game of lacrosse to the best of our ability. We also liked the more expansive overhead view it provided, as well as the lower fly option, to get a better vantage point for face-offs and game action.
What can fans expect if they tune into ESPNU for the alternate SpiderCam view of the game?
We know it has caused some confusion in the past for our viewers used to tuning into ESPNU for our season-long coverage.
We don’t want fans to think we changed our coverage approach for the biggest game of the year, so to help minimize confusion, we are branding the SpiderCam feed as such (with an upper right watermark), as well as using a separate graphic element explaining the “Traditional Telecast (is) on ESPN2” throughout the game. We obviously want the SpiderCam feed to augment their viewing experience, not necessarily replace the traditional feed. The fans will also hear the ESPN2 announce team of Eamon McAnaney, Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra on ESPNU.
We continue to hear from youth and collegiate coaches who like and record the SpiderCam feed for coaching and educational purposes.
What enhancements does the SpiderCam give to the traditional telecast on ESPN2?
It allows us to fly over and around the action which gives our viewers a unique perspective in understanding the game. Our producer and director team of John Kettering and Jimmy Platt have done a really nice job at refining our approach primarily through positioning the camera for optimal replay angles and to a lesser extent cutting the camera into live coverage.