BRISTOL, Conn.—Every August kids take the field in Williamsport, Penn., to compete in the Little League World Series, which airs on ESPN. This year, kids will be making their way to the commentator’s booth as well, as the sports broadcaster revealed in an interview with Variety that it will offer a special “kidscast” telecast for one of the games featuring teenage announcers and sideline reporters.
According to the exclusive interview with Mark Gross, ESPN’s senior vice president of production and remote events, a game on Wednesday, Aug. 21, will feature a traditional broadcast that airs on ESPN’s flagship channel and a simulcast version on ESPN 2 that features two 16-year-olds doing commentary and two 15-year-olds reporting from the sidelines. The goal will be to gear the broadcast toward a younger audience.
“We are going to work the sideline reporters for some different things,” Gross said in the interview. “What’s going on on the hill behind center field? Give us an update on kids sliding down on cardboard boxes. How fast are they going? Give us an update on what’s happening at the concession stand. What are kids and adults eating?”
The commentators selected for the broadcast were selected by longtime New York-based sportscaster Bruce Beck, who runs a camp for aspiring sportscasters at Iona College. In addition to the commentators and sideline reporters, ESPN says that Mo’ne Davis, the 2014 Little League World Series sensation who was the first girl to win a game and pitch a shutout in the tournament, will be a special analyst during part of the broadcast.
The ESPN 2 telecast will feature the same feed of the game as ESPN, but the ESPN 2 broadcast is expected to feature “double boxes” and “triple boxes” on screen that show different angles of the game from the sideline reporters, who will be equipped with their own mobile cameras.
This is the latest example of ESPN attempting to appeal to younger audiences, which it has done in the past with a version of its marquee show “SportsCenter” on Snapchat and different-style broadcasts of events like the NBA Finals or NFL draft.
ESPN’s coverage of the 2019 Little League World Series begins Aug. 15.