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Meet A Few Of The Women Working Behind The Scenes Of ESPN’s Exclusive Coverage of the NCAA Women’s Final Four

"We have known how great this game is for a while, but to see how many people are watching and talking about women’s basketball has been so incredibly fulfilling."

CLEVELAND — ESPN has elevated the 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship to new heights in its 29th season of exclusive coverage.

Countless ESPN departments are strategizing how to raise the bar and find new ways to innovate the championship event, from game production and studio programming to production management and ESPN marketing and social, plus utilizing new technology and new voices to enhance the viewing experience for fans.

Hundreds of ESPN employees are on site to bring the action in Cleveland to life. Meet four of the women behind ESPN’s exclusive coverage of the NCAA Women’s Final Four.


On the evolution of ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Tournament:
I started on the women’s tournament in 2016 – at that point, we were still regionalizing coverage. When you think of the span of the last eight years, it is pretty amazing. Every game is full national; we have two different studio crews in the first and second rounds. We have expanded coverage across the entire tournament through digital, social, MegaCasts, and more. It is almost not even that same tournament, it has gotten so big. Every day we have that moment where we see that this tournament has gotten so expansive, it is touching every single part of our company. Most of us knew eight years ago that it was good, we are super happy to have everyone else join the party.

On the chemistry between studio commentators:
Magical. It is just lightning in a bottle. You are always thoughtful about how to create great chemistry and put good humans who love the same sport together in the same space, but what we found is better than we ever could have expected. I find myself laughing with everyone else in the control room. If you are having fun working and they are having fun working, you know people at home are having fun watching. I feel so lucky to be a part of a team that includes those people because they are fully bought in. They show up every day as their very best selves, dedicated to making this project awesome – I don’t think you can ask for anything more.


On the storytelling strategy leading into the NCAA Women’s Tournament:
Going into the tournament, our strategy was to focus on our three pillars — prioritizing exposure of the sport, highlighting the stars, and investing in the game. It is clear to all of us that that strategy has paid off so far in both viewership and overall support of our sport. You see that within our company, whether it is through our shoulder programming, social, or digital, everyone is bought in and is embracing this championship. That support pays so many dividends to our overall product.

On her biggest takeaway from this season:
The biggest takeaway of this season has truly been seeing how so many people have consumed women’s basketball this year. We have known how great this game is for a while, but to see how many people are watching and talking about women’s basketball has been so incredibly fulfilling. What is even better is that this is a promise of the game to come. It is not just a moment in women’s basketball, but a movement. A movement in how people watch the game, discuss the game, focus in on stars. That piece is so fulfilling because women’s basketball will continue to be strong because of buy-in we are creating now.


On the progression of the sport, both behind the camera and on the court:
The players are so skilled and athletic now. The games are played at an incredibly high level, making them fun to cover. The support given to the project behind the scenes has increased every year with both equipment and personnel. We are all constantly thinking about how to improve the telecast for the viewers.

On her main priority throughout the Women’s Final Four:
Our priority is always to document the game and entertain the viewers. This year, we expect some additional viewers with the tremendous storylines in the Final Four. Our goal will be to turn those new viewers into passionate fans who will continue to follow & watch for years to come.


On what she’s most looking forward to in Cleveland in her new role:
I’m looking forward to managing an event that will be, and already has been throughout the tournament, the pinnacle of female athleticism. Our team has always recognized the excitement and athleticism of the Women’s Final Four, and it’s exciting to be managing the event in a year when the rest of the world is just as focused on the event. This event is worked on by the best of the best in our industry, and I am honored to work alongside them all to put on what is sure to be a historic Women’s Final Four.

On her biggest priority this season:
The game has been elevated, and our team took this as a challenge to grow along with it. Our team wanted to bring the same momentum that we saw reflected in the athlete’s season-long play to the broadcast. We wanted to do our part in covering these athletes in the way that they deserved. We achieved that by getting to add new technologies and enhancements to our coverage throughout the season which brought a unique dynamic to our storytelling throughout the broadcast. We also wanted to bring coverage synergies and similarities between women’s college basketball and the WNBA, which our Operations team also manages.

Jon McLeod, Spencer T. Jackson and Katie Callahan produced the videos above.
Four Things To Know About ESPN’S Women’s Final Four Coverage From Cleveland

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Women’s Final Four tips off tonight at 6 ET with the NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One on ESPN. The first semifinal between No. 1 South Carolina and No. 3 NC State is set for 7, followed by the second semifinal between No. 1 Iowa and No. 3 UConn at 9. Both semifinals will receive the MegaCast treatment with offerings on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+. For more information, visit ESPN PressRoom.

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