Host Bob Ley (far left, white shirt) and analyst Alexi Lalas (far right) meet with the production crew on the Bristol set in preparation for ESPN’s FIFA World Cup Draw telecast. (Bill Hofheimer/ESPN)
ESPN’s Jed Drake
Reaction to ESPN’s presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was so positive that some fans consider it the finest work ESPN has produced in its 30-plus year history. Nearly four years later, ESPN is now tasked with the challenge of raising the bar even higher during next summer’s FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
While preparations started literally years ago, Friday’s FIFA World Cup Draw (11:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2 and WatchESPN) in Costa do Sauípe, Brazil is a significant day as the 32 teams will be placed into groups and the matchups for next summer’s tournament will be announced to the world.
Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Jed Drake spoke with Front Row about the World Cup Draw and his production team’s planning for 2014.
Fifteen years ago today was a landmark day in sports television. ESPN’s Sunday Night Football telecast of the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals introduced a production enhancement that would forever change the way fans watch football.
The Virtual Yellow 1st and Ten® line magically appeared on the screen, displaying down and distance without interfering with the game so fans could easily identify where the first down marker was located on every play. continue reading…
ESPN producer Joe Rodriguez (Amanda DeCastro/ESPN)
Editor’s Note: The USA plays Mexico tomorrow in a World Cup qualifier. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, then continues at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Joe Rodriguez, a producer for ESPN since January 2012, knows how heated the rivalry between the USA and Mexican soccer teams goes. He has been a part of ESPN’s studio team for the network’s live soccer coverage for some of the sport’s most intense matchups, including the USA-Costa Rica “snow game.” But USA-Mexico is on another level, a rivalry which Rodriguez calls “one of the deepest in sports.” For Rodriguez, who says soccer is his favorite sport, the series is personal, having been born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and moving to the United States at the age of eight. Rodriguez shared his thoughts on the upcoming match with Front Row.
What are some of the storylines we can expect to be highlighted for the USA-Mexico match?continue reading…
Barely four weeks since leading Wigan Athletic FC to an improbable FA Cup victory over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium, and less than two weeks after being named the new manager of Everton FC – one of the English Premier League’s legendary clubs — Roberto Martinez joined ESPN as a studio analyst for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013. This month’s tournament is the third straight major international soccer event that Martinez is working for ESPN.
“Roberto represents one of the benchmarks in our commitment to present marquee soccer events: authenticity,” says Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. “He is a tactician, and he is adept at communicating the nuances of the game to our viewers. He is also a great teammate to the members of our group.” continue reading…
ESPN weaves a common thread throughout its coverage of global soccer competitions: authenticity. From its presentation of matches on the field to capturing the atmosphere and culture in each event’s host country, authenticity is the driving principle that continues to elevate ESPN’s coverage. This attention to detail is evident in the design of ESPN’s studios and graphics for major events.
Today marks 365 days until the start of one of the planet’s most anticipated sporting events: the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
In recognition of the one-year countdown, a team of about 20 employees from ESPN’s Facilities and Operations and Creative Services groups created a visual work of art that represents more than 80 years of the “beautiful game’s” history.
First conceptualized by Jed Drake, senior vice president of production, the World Cup Wall offers a timeline with photos beginning with the 1930 tournament in Uruguay. The images chronicle key moments, top players and the winning nations from each World Cup event.
The wall extends approximately 200 feet along a main walkway leading into the ESPN Café on the company’s Bristol, Conn., campus. continue reading…
The inaugural X Games Foz Do Iguaçu concluded Sunday in Brazil.
Over the course of four days, ESPN transmitted nearly 30 hours of X Games content from the scenic venue adjacent to 200-foot waterfalls.
The videos above and below introduce you to some of the hundreds of people working primarily behind the scenes to bring ESPN’s action sports franchise to its new Brazilian location.
Jed Drake, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer, Production, said of the telecasts from Foz: “This is a modern marvel. We’re kind of used to doing big, risky, cool, different things — otherwise known as the X Games – but this one is redefining it.
“It’s an incredible testament to the people who are working on it, because not only are we doing this now, but we’re doing it in the middle of a six-event, X Games schedule.”
Barcelona, Spain is home to the fourth leg of Global X, May 16-19. Munich, Germany hosts June 27-30, and Los Angeles welcomes X Games Aug. 1-4.
Executive producer Jed Drake had a vision for ESPN’s studio coverage of UEFA EURO 2012 that he shared nearly a year ago with creative director Noubar Stone.
Drake’s goal was to capture the atmosphere of host countries Poland and Ukraine in the set design while incorporating the graphic animations used in the television presentation.
How did Stone and his team do it? The short answer is creativity and dedication. The long answer entails utilizing some 1,800 square feet of studio real estate (Studio G on ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus) that normally belongs to NASCAR Now and a few other shows covering a variety of sports.
Ultimately, by bringing in custom set pieces inspired by the host countries, ESPN will give fans a studio presentation befitting the enormity of the event.
As you see from the above video, Stone and his team have created a compelling setting adorned with everything from alternate skyline backdrops to border crossing posts and cobblestone flooring. continue reading…
ESPN's Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer, Production
Tuesday night in Las Vegas, ESPN was named Broadcaster of the Year at the 55th New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards, having won the most medals – 62, including 20 Golds.
The competition includes networks, production companies, advertising agencies and others from more than 50 countries around the world. It was the fifth consecutive time ESPN was named Broadcaster of the Year.
ESPN also won a prestigious Grand Award, for the open to the 2011 Indy 500. Grand Awards are selected from among all the Gold Medal winners. Only three were selected for this special honor. In addition to that race telecast’s six medals, ESPN’s leading entrants were E:60 and Outside the Lines.
In addition, sports television legend and longtime friend of ESPN, Geoff Mason, received the lifetime achievement award. A former top executive at ABC Sports and NBC Sports, Geoff also served seven years as executive producer of ESPN International and was the producer of ESPN’s ground-breaking telecasts of the 1987 America’s Cup from Australia. continue reading…