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Up For The Challenge: Sneak Peek ESPN’s EURO 2020 Studios, Graphics And More

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After being delayed a year due to the pandemic, UEFA European Football Championship 2020 kicks off Friday with the opening match (Turkey vs. Italy, 2 p.m. ET) on ESPN. The month-long EURO 2020 will conclude an unprecedented decade of premier global soccer events on ESPN dating back to FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa. 
 
“Every time we host an event of this magnitude, I’m amazed at the level of collaboration across ESPN departments and how we continue to elevate our presentation,” said coordinating producer Chris Alexopoulos, who is again leading ESPN’s production alongside Vice President Amy Rosenfeld.
 
Through July 11, ESPN platforms will offer more than 140 hours of live EURO 2020 coverage, including all 51 matches, daily studio shows, specials, second-screen experiences on ESPN+, and more. Alexopoulos and Rosenfeld have also assembled a world-class roster of match voices and studio commentators.
 
Below is a preview of exciting creative elements that will be showcased, beginning tonight with the UEFA EURO 2020 Preview Show (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2):

Graphics and Animations

ESPN’s Creative Studio team has enhanced the graphics and animation package for EURO 2020 by building off the successful look it created four years ago for the tournament in France. This year, the EUROs span 11 cities across the continent rather than focusing on a single host nation, so the package reflects a broader European aesthetic.

A core tenant is “micro moments” within a game – players vying for a header, a player’s jersey getting tugged on a break-away, extended arms in celebration after a goal. These moments are frozen and captured in gold.

The golden embellishments, a nod to the industrial revolution in France and beyond, are mixed with paper textures, pencil sketches and watercolors, a call-back to classic artistry of Europe in the 1800s. National team crests and iconic landmarks – each carefully chosen and meticulously drawn – are used to identify each of the competing nations.

“I’m particularly proud because this is one of the most artistic moments in the history of our network,” said creative director Timothy O’Shaughnessy, an ESPN soccer veteran who is leading EURO 2020 with creative producer Matthew Bernabeo. “It’s fine art meets sport and that’s a beautiful intersection.”

Cartography is also featured prominently with maps highlighting stadium sites. Brilliant strokes of paint provide depth by creating the flags of each national team within the physical borders of its respective country. Other elements include clockwork, refraction and reflection of light through glass, and angles for amplification.

EURO 2020 Studio

Studio E on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus has been transformed into an immersive environment that will be home to all EURO 2020 coverage. There will be multiple settings, including a formal anchor desk, a casual conversation area, a touchscreen for tactical discussions, and a giant LED wall.

The backdrop in the conversation set is large-scale and particularly stunning. It features a collage of the hand-sketched landmarks from each country with watercolor-fill, all framed by lattice work. ESPN also created team crests to adorn the walls of the studio.

The giant LED will feature more of the Creative Studio team’s work, as well as virtual elements that will move out in front of the wall and slide back in as storytelling warrants. Senior Director of Studio and Lighting Design Noubar Stone and directors Jeff Nelson and Steve Zawilinski have overseen the studio preparations. 

(Kelly Backus/ESPN Images)

(Kelly Backus/ESPN Images)

(Kelly Backus/ESPN Images)

(Kelly Backus/ESPN Images)

Marketing

ESPN Marketing has developed another creative and exhaustive plan to highlight EURO 2020, including a collaboration with American DJ and record producer Steve Aoki and British producer and song writer Jungleboi to create ESPN’s anthem for UEFA EURO 2020, “Rubble to Gold (featuring Sam Calver).” The track will be used across all marketing creative (latest spot) and featured throughout ESPN productions. It is also part of the curated UEFA EURO 2020 themed Spotify playlist with tracks that build hype for the tournament. Additionally, artist and designer Andrew Thiele was commissioned to create 24 team-specific posters and a EURO tournament poster. ESPN’s fan kit for also includes virtual backgrounds for Microsoft Teams (beginning in the quarterfinals), a Fantasy Pick ‘Em game, and a TikTok #EURO challenge from June 11-13.

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