On Monday, ESPN Event Production held a World Cup seminar for the commentators, senior producers, directors and researchers, who will be responsible for the stories viewers will remember in years to come from the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011.
During one session, the Germany 2011 analysts — seven former Women’s World Cup players and a title-winning coach — applauded in unison as executive producer Jed Drake unveiled the company’s vision for the event.
Drake outlined five foundational principles which will guide ESPN’s coverage of the three-week tournament.
The principles mirror the critically acclaimed and award-winning ESPN 2010 FIFA World Cup production and emphasize:
• Authentic presentation of soccer: A focus on action on the field in intimate and soccer specific-stadia across Germany.
• World Cup 2011 Tournament: A presentation which captures the tournament as FIFA’s biggest competition among national teams this year, featuring exceptional athletes at the top of their sport.
• The Analysts: Seven experts, who played in 85 World Cup matches combined, provide a unique opportunity to give fans the best collection of experiential insight on television.
• Sense of Place: Exploration of Germany via a mobile studio set traveling through, and originating from, five historic cities.
• The U.S. Team: Following the U.S. side’s World Cup narrative –currently ranked No. 1 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, the team is seeking to recapture the World Cup title it last won in 1999.
Reflecting on the sentiment amongst her fellow analysts about the seminar, lead studio analyst Brandi Chastain said: “The people behind the scenes and in front of the camera will finally live up to the standards of the competition on the field.
“I am excited. This is, from top to bottom, the most competitive Women’s World Cup to-date.”
Chastain, who scored the U.S. team’s 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup winning penalty kick versus China, was one former player at the meeting.
Others included Team USA’s Julie Foudy, Kate Markgraf, Cat Whitehill and former coach Tony DiCicco; Australia’s Alicia Ferguson; and Germany’s Viola Odebrecht.
Studio hosts Bob Ley and Rebecca Lowe, play-by-play commentators Ian Darke and Adrian Healey, and reporter Bob Holtzman, also participated in the meetings. (Beth Mowins, who will call matches, was on assignment)
The commentators will be the faces for ESPN’s coverage of all 32 matches of 2011 Women’s World Cup (June 26 – July 17), as well as for studio news and analysis throughout the three-week tournament.
As part of its unprecedented coverage, additional FIFA World Cup content will be available on espnW, the sports site dedicated to women athletes and fans.