I am ESPN’s manager of communications in the United Kingdom and I help to manage day-to-day the communications and media relations activities of ESPN in the UK. In my spare time I am an avid fan of the Liverpool soccer team, managing to spend some time indulging in my other passion, travel, when soccer does not get in the way.
posted by Tristan O'Carroll on January 14, 2013 10:22 AM
LONDON — On Jan. 5 and 6, ESPN’s UK operation televised what many sports fans consider to be the “start” of the FA Cup — the world’s oldest and most coveted domestic soccer cup competition.
While the tournament actually begins in August, the Third Round of the tournament — where the “giants” of the English Premier League enter and are matched-up against lower-league and semi-professional or amateur clubs — has provided innumerable shocks and fairytales over the years and is one of the key moments in the English sporting calendar.
The tournament, first held in 1871, is unique in the UK by allowing clubs of all standards to compete, from the largest clubs in England and Wales down to amateur teams. It means the tournament has become known for the possibility of so-called minnows becoming giant-killers by eliminating top clubs from the tournament. It is an attribute that is sort of the English soccer cousin to the “Cinderella” element of the NCAA basketball tournaments.
· 90 Approximate number of staff on site
· 22 Cameras including ENG/ESPN
· 12 Outside Broadcast Vehicles including Satellite Uplink, F & TV, GFX, Security, Dining Bus for Talent & ITV SNG
· 6 Presenters, reporters, commentators and guests
· 91 Meals served
· 14 kilometers of cable into the stadium
· 60 BNC inter truck video feeds
· 2 MADI fiber optic inter connectors
· 30 Audio connections inter truck
· 9 LCD monitors in various locations
· 9 Specialist HD mini cams
· 1 HD radio steadicam
· 1 HD Super slomotion camera
· 1 X-mo
· 9 HDC1500 cameras
· 7 EVS XT2 hard disc recorders
· 2 M2000 HD tape machines
· 1 SRW tape machine
· 2 Digi Beta machines
As 2013 dawned, ESPN cameras were live at two Third Round matches that presented that opportunity for a so-called potential “giant-killing” upset: semi-professional club Mansfield Town (from the fifth tier of English soccer) versus Liverpool FC (Premier League powerhouse and seven-time winners of the FA Cup); and Cheltenham Town (from the fourth tier of English soccer and an amateur club as recently as 1999) taking on Everton (five-time winners of the FA Cup, currently fifth in the Premier League table).
ESPN covers the tournament on TV in several territories worldwide, including the home market of the UK, so the images captured by ESPN cameras were being beamed to ESPN viewers in the UK, Australia and parts of Latin America — as well as serving as a host feed for other TV partners around the world. continue reading…
posted by Tristan O'Carroll on November 5, 2012 12:47 PM
CAMBRIDGE, England — This past weekend, our UK operation started its TV coverage of this season’s FA Cup — the world’s oldest and most coveted domestic soccer cup competition — with the First Round of matches.
The FA Cup is known as English soccer’s great leveller — pitting amateur sides that get to train perhaps once a week against professional teams with access to some the best support in physical and technical training.
Last Friday, ESPN commenced its coverage of this season’s FA Cup with the live broadcast of amateur side Cambridge City’s clash against professional outfit Milton Keynes Dons at Pro-Edge Stadium.
Just before going on air, FrontRow caught up with ESPN UK soccer commentator Derek Rae on the essence of this unique competition.
Above, enjoy a picture gallery of the broadcast.
What is the essence of the FA Cup?
There are very few Cup competitions like this — where everybody takes it seriously and everybody knows there’s the potential for the big teams to fall. New stars will be born, live on television and local heroes will emerge on the national stage.
How different is an ESPN broadcast at an FA Cup game compared to, say, an English Premier League match? continue reading…
posted by Tristan O'Carroll on April 30, 2012 12:56 PM
LONDON — ESPN today strengthens its commitment to covering soccer globally, introducing ESPNFC, a new multi-language and multi-country brand for soccer fans around the world across TV, online, mobile print and radio.
Just in time for the exciting build-up to the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, the new brand will bring together all of ESPN’s soccer properties and house them under one universally recognized name.
Beginning today, fans can experience a preview of ESPNFC with branded content online and on mobile platforms specific to the EURO 2012.
Throughout EURO 2012, ESPNFC will be focused entirely on providing comprehensive coverage of one of the leading international soccer competitions, including news, analysis and commentary, real-time scores, stats and more.
And later this year – around the new Barclays Premier League and European seasons – ESPNFC will expand to encompass all major leagues and competitions worldwide.
posted by Tristan O'Carroll on April 16, 2012 5:34 PM
LONDON — This week, our UK operation broadcast one of the two semi-finals of this season’s FA Cup — the world’s oldest and most coveted domestic soccer cup competition — live from Wembley.
ESPN in the UK brought exclusively live televised coverage of the Merseyside derby, contested by Liverpool and Everton, which finished 2-1 to Liverpool after a late winner from their star striker Andy Carroll.
Liverpool, owned by Boston Red Sox owners, Fenway Sports Group, contributed two of their alumni to ESPN’s soccer talent team: Kevin Keegan (the ex-England soccer team manager) and John Barnes (one of the most revered England soccer players of all time).
ESPN’s UK production team brought viewers a 90-minute build-up from our custom-built set. In truth, our pre-match build-up was far longer than that.
On-site preparations began last Thursday morning with technical crew travelling to Wembley and cable rigging taking place around the iconic venue, followed by sound and vision testing on Friday. continue reading…
posted by Tristan O'Carroll on November 23, 2011 4:00 PM
LONDON — This week, our UK operation helped celebrate the start of this season’s FA Cup — the world’s oldest and most coveted domestic soccer cup competition — with a special match at Wembley, the venue for the England national soccer team.
ESPN, which airs the competition in the UK and Ireland, hosted a special 11-a-side soccer match for the full 90 minutes on the world famous Wembley pitch involving viewers, fans, industry journalists and key company partners. They can lay claim to being among a very small group of people to have played on the famous Wembley pitch.
Each team was managed by members of ESPN’s UK soccer talent team: Kevin Keegan (the ex-England soccer team manager) led Team Keegan; John Barnes (one of the most revered England soccer players of all time) and Ray Stubbs, ESPN UK’s lead soccer presenter, led Team Barnes/Stubbs. Competing on each side were ESPN soccer talent (Ray Stubbs, Kevin Keegan, Chris Waddle and Martin Keown), plus a number of specially-invited FA Cup legends.
Team Keegan prevailed, 2-1.
After the match, the teams were able to see the FA Cup trophy itself, walk up to the famous Royal Box where the winners of the actual tournament in May 2012 will receive the famous trophy. The sides got to spend time with ESPN’s soccer talent as well as the legends themselves.
Ross Hair, Managing Director, ESPN, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “The FA Cup is one of the biggest tournaments in the sporting calendar and has a special place in the hearts of football fans everywhere. Our first year of broadcasting the FA Cup last season produced some great matches, remarkable stories and amazing upsets. ESPN is looking forward to bringing fans all the action this season. Our presentation of the FA Cup will continue to take the same innovative approach we took last season, an approach that focused on bringing fans closer to the stories around the game and closer to the game itself.”
Keegan said: “It’s a massive day for these guys to come and play at Wembley and to have the chance to play with the likes of (ex-Arsenal legends) Robert Pires and Martin Keown is unbelievable. They’re all just big kids at heart’
Barnes said: ‘You can see how much playing in this fantastic setting means to the guys, they played with enthusiasm and its great to see that. I know they are all of a certain age and fitness, but it just shows how much football (soccer) means to everyone.’