The WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky are well underway with the best-of-five series tied at 1-1. Game 3 is Friday in Chicago (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2). We caught up with producer Laurie Privitera – who is producing the WNBA Finals for the first time – to gain insight into the process of getting to this point.
Tell us about your journey here at ESPN.
I started with ESPN in 2005 as a PA working in Studio Production. I transitioned to Event Production in 2008 working on college football and shifted to the NBA/WNBA in 2010. Over the years I worked as a PA, Graphics Producer, AD, Tape Producer and currently Producer.
How do you prep for an event like the WNBA Finals?
My preparation didn’t begin this summer, it’s a build-up of the 11 years working on the NBA project and a culmination of all of my mentors teaching me along the way. Every role I’ve held taught me something that I’m utilizing during the WNBA Finals.
You don’t prepare for an event like the W Finals without the help of many people, from my announcers to my director [Ken Dennis] to replay operators and our entire technical team. I did my best to lay out an organized vision and plan which allowed highly qualified members of our team to do their jobs.
What is your favorite thing about producing live events?
I loved the thrill of competing in sports growing up. As a 5-foot, 4-inch basketball player, my career ended after high school. Producing live events reminds me of my playing days. All of my preparation leading up to games is similar to practice so the games, you’re just reacting. The excitement and energy of producing live games gives me the same thrill I felt competing growing up while also pushing me and feeding into my drive to improve from game to game.