ESPN wins 3 Emmy Awards for outstanding FIFA World Cup 2010 production

ESPN wins 3 Emmy Awards for outstanding FIFA World Cup 2010 production

May 2, ESPN won three Sports Emmy Awards for their production work surrounding FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010. The winning categories were Live Special: 2010 FIFA World Cup (ABC), Writing: 2010 FIFA World Cup (ESPN/ABC), and Music: 2010 FIFA World Cup: U2 Soweto Gospel Choir (ESPN/ESPN 2/ABC). The awards were presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

ESPN won a total of seven Sports Emmy awards in 2011 and 142 overall in their 24 years of eligibility.

ESPN committed unprecedented resources to producing FIFA World Cup 2010, partly to satisfy the world’s growing fascination with the event, partly to document hosting an event of such magnitude in underdeveloped South Africa, and partly to fall in line with ESPN’s growing stock of rights to international soccer properties.

Seth Ader, the Senior Director of Sports Marketing at ESPN, oversaw ESPN’s World Cup promotions and production from concept to creation to worldwide presentation. After the successful collaboration with U2 in ESPN’s production of 2006 World Cup Germany, Ader approached the Irish band again for the 2010 World Cup. He also employed Wieden and Kennedy, NY, to create the powerful promotional pieces and hired Lance Accord, the award winning director of photography for Lost in Translation and Where the Wild Things Are, to shoot and manage the photography.

In a two part interview with Ader for Examiner, he spoke with me about the process of creating the enormous campaign which involved 18 months of research.

“You’ve got countries of a billion people and three hundred million people carrying the hopes and dreams of their team’s success with them for a 30 day tournament,” said Ader. “It’s an event that’s the biggest in the world by far. There are many people in this country who don’t know that. They think the Super Bowl is. I say, ‘What’s the biggest event in the world?’ and they say, ‘The Super Bowl.’ It is not, it’s the World Cup.

Ader told me it it was his idea to include the Soweto Gospel Choir in the music, but U2 had editorial input in the ESPN production.

“Yes, of course,” said Ader. “Visually, there weren’t many changes. They believed in these stories and of course they had seen the scripts before we went out and shot, so we were pretty good there and they were very agreeable and trusting of us to capture the World Cup in these spots.

Their main feedback had to do with their music, which of course they’re entitled to and have huge stakes in. It was a combination of their music and Bono’s voice and the mixing of the choir in with their music.”

The ESPN viewings for the World Cup games jumped off the chart, validating the huge investment. The June 23rd USA vs. Algeria World Cup match on ESPN in which Landon Donovan scored a dramatic stoppage time goal for the 1 0 win and advanced the USA to the Round of 16 became the highest rated and most watched soccer game in the history of ESPN. It delivered a 4.6 rating with 4,582,000 households and 6,161,000 viewers.

ESPN earns a fourth soccer related Emmy

The prime time news magazine show, E:60 also won a Sports Emmy in the Long Feature category for “Survival 1,” a profile of the Liberian Amputee Soccer Team. Everyone on the roster had been injured in their nation’s civil war.

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