ESPN Makes World Cup Priority
By Krystina Lucido
ESPN is the global face of sports. They get all the breaking news first and have more employees than some countries have citizens. So there presence at such a large event, both for its anticipation on the field and its impact off it.
The presence ESPN has had at this global event is unprecedented in the sports network's history. As compared to previous years, ESPN wanted to approach the World Cup in South Africa from a global perspective. They felt in Germany, viewers may not have been looking at their coverage as serious because they were covering it from Bristol, just like any other event. So in 2010, ESPN wanted to report on the event from not just an American perspective.
They hired local announcers from the area who have knowledge of not just soccer, but soccer in South Africa, creating a team that looked like the event -- international in scope.
ESPN could not be happier with how the event is panning out and is excited to see everyone in the United States getting behind controversies like the third goal that should have won the game for the U.S. against Slovenia. Their ratings are up 70 percent which is encouraging to the sports media monopoly considering through their broadcast contract they have the rights to the World Cup and all related events (women's World Cup, U20, U17, etc.) until 2014.
While visiting ESPN, our group took a tour around the International Broadcast Centre where ESPN's 300-plus employees have been meeting and working throughout three control rooms and a remote broadcast set. The set sits high off the ground so the tower is level with a wonderful, panoramic view of the city. The main set is directly in front of the new Soccer City Stadium.
In addition to ESPN, all other international TV broadcast networks and radio stations set up their hubs at IBC. The centre was built specifically for the event and reflects the theme through the building and in the square surrounding it.
ESPN has very much made the World Cup a priority and is committed to reporting it from a global perspective. I guess I will have to wait till I am back home to see it for myself.
Posted June 20, 2010 at 12:20 a.m. (South Africa time)