ESPN’s ‘WNBA Countdown’ features all-Black female broadcast team

Carolyn Peck, Andraya Carter and LaChina Robinson Courtesy of Instagram/lachinarobinson

The first regular season edition of “WNBA Countdown,” ESPN’s pre-game show, premiered Tuesday, May 14.

“WNBA Countdown” features two “distinct desks for its ESPN and ABC broadcasts throughout the regular season,” read a network press release. More importantly, both desks will be manned by sistas.

LaChina Robinson will host ESPN’s broadcasts alongside analysts Monica McNutt and Carolyn Peck. ABC’s broadcasts will feature the new team of SportsCenter anchors Elle Duncan, Chiney Ogwumike, and Andraya Carter, who will make their debut on Saturday, May 18.

All six Black women are veteran broadcasters who have worked college and pro basketball for the cable sports network.

“We’re excited about the platform in general,” said Robinson to an MSR question last week during an ESPN Zoom media call. “But diversity is important, no matter what industry you’re talking about, [or] what business you’re a part of. I think it’s very special [to have] the WNBA being a predominantly Black league, to have Black women using their voices in the media to speak to the league, to its excellent, to its play on the court.

 

 

“So, we’re proud to lead in that,” said Robinson.

Added fellow ESPN commentator Rebecca Lobo, “No one has fought harder for that than LaChina has over the course of the last five, six, seven — probably longer than that years.”

Sara Gaiero, ESPN vice president of production, noted, “I feel like we’re in a really good spot across the board with how we’re going to present (the league) in the season. We’re thrilled that we’ll have robust WNBA Countdown coverage.

“We fought hard to get a pregame show, and we launched it in the playoffs a season and a half ago. Last year was the first season we’ve had this type of show,” she reiterated.

ESPN apparently is now making a concerted effort to expand its WNBA storytelling efforts.  According to the network, ESPN’s in-game presentation throughout the season will also lean heavily into access with live audio from mic’d players, first and third-quarter player interviews, live in-game talk-backs with coaches, and enhanced storytelling elements.

“I think that’s the momentum we have to keep pushing and pushing and pushing for to let the stories not disappear now that we’re at this point,” declared Gaiero. “I think it’s really important that we show off the diversity of this team, all of their experiences, and what they can bring to it.”

“We are just grateful for the WNBA Countdown platform in general,” concluded Robinson. “It is something we’ve been fighting for a long time because storytelling is very important around our game.”

ESPN’s ‘WNBA Countdown’ features all-Black female broadcast team

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