NBC Sports coverage of NHL’s Blues versus Blackhawks game will go down in history in line with International Women’s Day on 8 March with an all-female team set to produce and broadcast the match.
A day to forge gender equality, celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness against bias, International Women’s Day, which dates back over 100 years, aims to develop a gender-equal world where “equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue.”
This year NBC Sports will see an all-female team working behind the camera for the first time to broadcast and produce game coverage of the St Louis Blues versus Chicago Blackhawks NHL matchup which will air on NBCSN.
Producer Kaitlin Urka, who pitched the idea to NBC, will be joined by NFL’s play-by-play radio presenter Kate Scott who will call the action, alongside US Olympic gold medallist Kendall Coyne-Schofield and AJ Mleczko - an analyst from United Centre in Chicago.
The studio will be anchored by Kathryn Tappen with three-time Canadian Olympic gold medallist Jen Botterill under lead producer Rene Hatlelid and director Lisa Seltzer.
Tappen said: “I’ve been broadcasting for 17 years, and yet, the very first broadcast I did with a female producer was just two years ago.
“The fact that we are celebrating International Women’s Day with an all-female broadcast and production team tells me how far we have come in a very short time.
“We hope our broadcast will help inspire young women watching to follow their dreams, because we’ve proven that anything is possible, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
- Read more Encouraging women in sports production
Urka, who is an experienced producer, having worked at NBC Sports for over nine years including coverage of the Olympics games, brings editing skills to process digital media, transcoding and consolidating raw camera files.
Having successfully pitched the idea to executives as a first-of-its-kind broadcast, NBC Sports will recognise women who have “made their mark” on sports, particularly women’s hockey, throughout the air time. The aim is to inspire future generations of women to excel behind the scenes.
Ukra said: “We aren’t just bringing women together for the sake of bringing women together.
“These are professionals who are some of the best at what they do and do these jobs on a regular basis.
“International Women’s Day just gives us a unique platform to celebrate their great work.”
In addition to the game elements, NBC Sports’ female-empowerment brand On Her Turf will surround the broadcast with content featuring women in hockey in various ways including the Hockey is for Her digital video franchise and behind-the-scenes content through @OnHerTurf on Instagram.
The studio coverage will start at 7 pm ET in the US on NHL Live and will continue immediately following the game with NHL Overtime.
On the production side, Hatlelid added: “We are proud to recognise International Women’s Day. These strong, accomplished women do this work day in and day out and I’m honoured to be a part of this historic broadcast.”
International Women’s Day: Tips for success
Last year IBC365 spoke to four women who work in the industry offering tips on how to succeed in the sometimes male-dominated creative, technical and leadership positions in the media, entertainment and tech industry.
Maryann Brandon is a film editor for blockbuster action features and TV including Mission Impossible III and Passengers, and the long-running Alias TV series.
Juggling parenthood and a profession is something Brandon said she had to be “very selfish about,” and even took her children to the cutting room.
Former Brave Bison chief executive Claire Hungate said: “Women often self-sabotage because this is an industry built on networking and who you know. Women need to have the confidence to reach out and gain first-hand experience.”
Hungate pointed to Generation Z as the “most entrepreneurial generation yet” who often don’t see age or technology as a restriction and urged the younger generation to not “restrict yourself.”
Brazilian cinematographer Carolina Costa has travelled the world photographing feature films, documentaries, shorts and commercials and was selected as one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars of 2018.
She said: “I’ve been told so many times that I would never make it as a cinematographer but you have to keep pushing and hopefully someone will give you a break.”
Melissa Payne vice president, head of technology operations IMG Media is responsible for IMG’s global technical spend and income and approves all rights deals relating to technical delivery across all of IMG’s platforms and properties.
She describes herself as a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ – but as a ‘control freak’ who wants to know how all parts of the jigsaw puzzle fit together.
- Read more IWD tips for success