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Roll Out The Orange Carpet: ESPN Airs WNBA Draft Tonight From Spring Studios In NYC

With the Draft in-person for the first time since 2019, "we can capture the energy and emotion of the athletes attending," says ESPN director Susan Molinsky

(ESPN)

Tonight’s 2022 WNBA Draft Presented by State Farm (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) marks the first in-person Draft for the league since 2019 and the debut of a new venue – New York City’s acclaimed Spring Studios, home to such iconic events as Fashion Week and The Tribeca Film Festival.

While models and movie stars are accustomed to glitz and glam, the spotlight will be reserved for some of the biggest names in women’s college basketball this evening. The prospects in attendance will even walk the WNBA’s signature “Orange Carpet” before officially joining their new pro teams.

Coordinating producer Sara Gaiero and director Susan Molinsky will again lead ESPN’s production of the Draft. Molinsky previews her fourth WNBA Draft assignment and discusses the long-awaited return to an in-person event with Front Row.

What does it mean to ESPN’s production team to be back on-site for WNBA Draft?
Returning to an in-person Draft is an exciting and collaborative effort between ESPN and the league. Being in-person, we can capture the energy and emotion of the athletes attending the Draft.

Do you have any special cameras planned?
We have added a virtual jib and some additional robotic cameras that will be used on the “Orange Carpet” for the draftees’ arrival.

What can fans expect from this new Draft venue at Spring Studios in New York City?
I’m looking forward to the energy in the room and the fan experience. [Reporter] Holly Rowe will give viewers a walkthrough of the venue from the draftees’ perspective. In the past, some of these activations have been in areas our cameras couldn’t access.

This year with the Spring Studios venue, there will be social activations that we can highlight and give viewers a closer look at what the draftees will be doing after their names are called. This also gives us access to the crowd and potential interviews with any current WNBA players and college coaches who will be at the Draft.

How will ESPN integrate team Draft room cameras into the presentation?
We are planning to have cameras in the Draft rooms of three teams – the Atlanta Dream, Indiana Fever, and Washington Mystics. This gives us another opportunity to show different aspects of the Draft, capturing the excitement of the teams when they make their pick.

What do you enjoy most about this event?
Every year it’s bigger and the fan base is growing. It’s exciting to watch these athletes that I have followed through their college careers take the next step and develop at the WNBA level.

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