ESPN uses broadcast team made up entirely of women for Celtics-Heat matchup


Beth Mowins, Doris Burke, and Cassidy Hubbarth made up the commentary team.

Friday wasn’t the first time ESPN utilized an all-female commentary team, either. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Celtics’ home opener against the Miami Heat was a marquee matchup league-wide and a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. A significant battle on the court, Friday’s broadcast was also significant for the sports media landscape.

ESPN’s broadcast crew on Friday was made up entirely of women. Beth Mowins on play-by-play, Doris Burke on color commentary, and Cassidy Hubbarth as the sideline reporter.

Friday wasn’t the first time ESPN deployed an all-female broadcast crew, either.

On Feb. 9, 2022, ESPN aired the “first NBA game broadcast on a national scale led by all women on camera and in pivotal behind-the-scenes roles.”

Though Friday isn’t the first time women have led each aspect of the on-air broadcast team, it has plenty of significance in other ways. In the past, the all-female broadcast assembly has been used to celebrate Women’s History Month, or National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Friday was a primetime, nationally televised broadcast. But it was also just another day. There wasn’t a special reason for a broadcast to be made up of all women, because there doesn’t need to be a special reason for it. Hopefully, that’s a sign of normalization of the all-female crew.

Listen to Mowins, Burke, and Hubbarth call some of the most exciting and significant plays of Friday’s matchup:

Jaylen Brown with the dagger.

With less than 30 seconds to go and a 5-point lead, Boston played keep away from Miami until late in the shot clock when Jaylen Brown found a wide open look for three. He buried the field goal and sealed a Celtics victory in their home opener.

Jrue Holiday’s ferocious chase down block.

Rim protector. Lead protector. Those two things went hand in hand when Jrue Holiday rejected Jaime Jaquez off the glass in the third quarter. Holiday sprinted back in transition for the chase down stuff.

Derrick White can do that, too.

Earlier in the game, Kevin Love fired a full-court heave to Jimmy Butler attempting to get an easy bucket. Derrick White had other plans, rushing back and getting a hand on the layup attempt to bat it away.

White and Holiday’s defensive combination in the backcourt is living up to the hype. On Friday, the duo combined for four blocks.

The Celtics beat the Heat, 119-111, and improved their record to 2-0.