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Inside Tryouts: ESPN+’s Riveting New Series Follows Dream Chasers from all Walks of Life

From an early age, the concept of participating in “tryouts” to secure a place on a team – from pee-wee through the pros – is familiar to most all aspiring athletes. Now, with today’s ESPN+ debut of an original, seven-episode series called Tryouts, fans can follow the unfiltered emotions and trials of individuals vying for prized positions across a spectrum of domains, ranging from team sports to elite performance groups. 

The series, with new episodes every Wednesday through May 22, not only delves into physical trials but also unravels the emotional rollercoasters experienced by hopeful participants as they vie for spots with the Long Beach, California Lifeguards, Texas Smoke softball and USA Curling, to name a few.   

ESPN producer Gavin Cote shared some insights into Tryouts with Front Row:

What sparked the creation of Tryouts?

The genesis of Tryouts stemmed from an internally created concept by our Development Team, which evolved into a pilot, then a full blown seven-episode original series. The objective was to create a series that revealed the reality of competition and those who chase their dreams. Our aim was to delve beyond the world of five-star recruits and max contracts and unveil the passion, fear and motivation that reveals itself when  competitors face the ultimate stakes in pursuit if their goals.

What do you hope viewers will take away from Tryouts?

It’s my hope that this series not only introduces viewers to our great characters and their competitions, but that they become fully invested in them. Their journeys. Their struggles. Their pursuits of success. There is nothing more relatable in human emotion than doing whatever it takes to fulfill a dream. I want the person who grew up dreaming of driving a Monster Jam truck to live out that pursuit as they cheer on Fernando Martinez who shares that same dream. I want that person still chasing their dream job to be inspired by Brittany Mendoza as she chases a lifelong career goal to join the Long Beach Lifeguards. I want our viewers to live vicariously through the characters they find commonality with and be inspired by their determination and resilience.

Can you share a memorable experience from the production?

For me, one of the most memorable experiences from production was the first clips we saw of our Texas Tech Co-Ed Cheer episode and being introduced to one of our characters, Kolby Kersten. Kolby’s personality and energy is so positive, and so infectious, you can’t help but feel better just from watching Kolby on screen. We all immediately felt we had a star on our hands and wanted to maximize Kolby’s presence in the episode, so viewers fell in love the same way we did. Kolby is the type of personality a producer dreams of – vulnerable, engaging, charismatic, unapologetically authentic – and the type of personality that can really make a series like Tryouts stand out, and for me that was a really exciting moment.

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