Under the banner “E:60 Reports with Jeremy Schaap” ESPN’s award-winning prime-time newsmagazine devotes an entire program to an in-depth look at FIFA President Sepp Blatter, one of the most powerful people in the world of sports, and the oft-criticized organization he oversees.
After months of filming across the globe, speaking with top voices in the sport including Portugal’s Luis Figo, Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al-Hassan and Michael Van Praag of Netherlands – the three candidates hoping to unseat Blatter — and people who have known Blatter for decades, E:60 Reports delivers a riveting portrait of the man and the sport he rules (tonight, ESPN 7 p.m. ET). Coordinating Producer Michael Baltierra takes Front Row through the year-long process of assembling this ambitious effort:
How does this show differ from anything E:60 has previously done?
It is a further expansion of our brand. We have done investigations in the past as well as full-hour documentaries. However, this is the first time we have devoted a full show, an hour, to a single investigative story. No one else in sports television is doing this.
How would you describe the genesis of how the idea and the show came about?
Jeremy and I have covered the past two World Cups and have for a long time discussed doing something about Blatter and the workings of FIFA. Last summer when Blatter announced he would be running for a fifth term as FIFA president, amidst the controversy over the selection of Qatar as the host of the 2022 World Cup, we thought the timing was right. Beein Gim, our lead investigative producer, started looking into the topic and soon we realized that a comprehensive look at Blatter, arguably the most powerful figure in sports, had not been done. We also quickly realized that we would have enough material to fill more than a typical E:60 segment.
What was the most challenging aspect of putting this kind of show together?
Digging through the mountains of material. Seventy-nine year old Blatter has been at FIFA for nearly 40 years and president for 17 years. We had to make some tough decisions on what to include and what had to be left on the cutting room floor.