When ESPN’s Bryan Rourke watched The Chevin, a Yorkshire, England, rock band, perform their hit song “Champion” on the Late Show with David Letterman in late August, the associate producer knew he was hearing the music that would eventually anchor the opening sequence for ESPN’s presentation of the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs.
At the time, Rourke, a member of ESPN Event Productions’ creative content unit led by coordinating producer Julie McGlone, was mulling ideas on par with ESPN’s past critically acclaimed “opens” for 2010 FIFA World Cup, the NBA Finals on ABC and the UEFA EURO 2012.
“The song had a strong presence and intrigued me to learn more about the band and their music,” said Rourke.
A brief online and YouTube search informed Rourke that “an overwhelming amount of soccer fans were commenting on chat boards about the song’s use on ‘FIFA 13.’”
Armed with that knowledge, Rourke turned to ESPN music director Kevin Wilson who negotiated the music rights and the band’s appearance in the shoot.
On Friday, October 26, nine ESPNers joined ESPN Director of Creative Technology David Saphirstein and about 30 Full Sail students and 15 faculty members at the Full Sail University’s Sports Lab powered by ESPN in Winter Park, Fla., to shoot a music video of The Chevin performing their hit song “Champion” for a cheering crowd of extras waving soccer flags.
“Having this production take place on our campus, and being mentored by ESPN’s team of professionals was a tremendous educational experience for our students to be a part of,” said Josh Mora, Full Sail’s Program Director of the Sports Marketing & Media degree program.
In the open, Major League Soccer highlights are woven into a video montage with elements from the shoot to capture the passion and heightened excitement of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“When Bryan pitched the idea, we liked it and gave him the green light,” said soccer coordinating producer Amy Rosenfeld, who, along with McGlone and soccer producer Chris Alexopoulos, approved the creative concept. “What we wanted was a high-end open that tells a story with pizazz.”
In return, Rosenfeld and her award-winning soccer production team got one of the best production opening sequences in ESPN’s 17 Major League Soccer post-seasons.
After its debut on Wednesday, Oct. 31 (Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo), the “Champion” open is being used in all six 2012 MLS Cup Playoff matches on ESPN, including the MLS Cup on Saturday, Dec. 1.
2012 MLS Cup Playoff on ESPN continues Sunday, Nov. 18, with the second and deciding leg of the Western Conference Finals featuring the Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles Galaxy at 9 p.m. ET
A special thank you to Full Sail’s students, staff and graduates who shot and edited the above video which offers a behind-the-scenes look at The Chevin’s “Champion” Shoot at Full Sail University.