In the past, football fans had to wait to hear players talk about a missed basket, interception or 80-yard touchdown. But with the XFL, the reaction is immediate.
“You don’t see that kind of access anywhere else,” ESPN XFL reporter Dianna Russini explained.
Russini doesn’t have to wait to ask the players what happened. As soon as they hit the sidelines, the XFL makes them available.
“I talk to them for a few seconds before I step in front of the camera to say ‘Hey, listen, there’s a good chance I’ll talk to you later when you do something right,'” Russini explained. “But for now, tell me about the situation. What happened there? “”
Interviews don’t always go as planned either. For example, last week Russini’s interview with Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin went viral.
“What adjustments do you want to make to your game?” Russini asked McGloin during the game.
“I think we have to make a lot of adjustments,” McGloin told him. “Lots of changes. If I’m honest this is one of the worst games I’ve ever been to.”
It’s an answer even Russini couldn’t believe.
“I walked away saying ‘Wow that’s the most honest player I’ve ever heard a player ask about the situation,'” Russini recalls.
Access is only expected to improve. ESPN teams strive to dive into unprecedented access and give fans even more.
“More impatient,” ESPN producer Joshua Hoffman explained. “What they’re about to do. What they’re trying to do. Instead of covering up what they just did.”
ESPN producer Joshua Hoffman said that with mics on coaches, players and on the sidelines, it goes beyond anything they’ve been able to do before.
“Ultimately, a football fan is going to learn more about the game than he did in the beginning,” Hoffman said.
It’s a unique perspective that crews still can’t believe they are able to give fans.
“It blew me away,” Russini said.
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