With one week to go before Brazil faces Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 soccer World Cup in Sao Paulo, ESPN SVP and executive producer Jed Drake says his team’s preparation has been going “exceptionally well” and that what ends up on air “is going to be tremendous and worthy of the event itself.” That said, the local “infrastructure is not what it should have been.” As expected, some of the stadiums “are not at the level of completion the country would have liked to have them at this point.” But, the infrastructure issues — which will present a “big challenge” to the crowds — won’t have an effect on the telecasts. “We’re going to be fine,” Drake said. But, he’s cautioned producers and commentators, “Time and patience are going to be your biggest allies. You’re going to need large measures of both.” Drake is confident the ratings will rise for the network’s coverage of the beautiful game, but is also prepared to cut away to news if protests “or anything that goes to a higher level” should unfold. With the country in a state of un-preparedness, a crime wave has broken out in Rio and threats of protests have been looming for more than a year over economic and planning problems related to the World Cup and impending Olympics. ABC News has a large contingent headed to Brazil and Drake says ESPN will “shift gears and go into news programming” if necessary.
Related: ESPN Striking Hard With Far-Reaching Soccer World Cup Coverage
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The Worldwide Leader has been building up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in a big way for years — devoting much more airtime and bandwidth to soccer than most Americans are used to. Now it’s almost time for what ESPN hopes will be the big payoff. The cable sports behemoth today revealed its comprehensive coverage plans for the quadrennial tournament, which kicks off June 12 in Brazil. Basically, if you have a screen that shows moving pictures, you can watch the World Cup. All 64 matches of the planet’s most popular sporting event will air on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and/or ABC as well as computers, smartphones, etc. And the sports giant will dedicate an entire month of 24/7 news, analysis and such on ESPN 3 and WatchESPN in the U.S. and worldwide via its multi-language soccer brand ESPN FC. The network also will launch a dedicated app and a redesigned global website this month. Here is a fun promotional spot from ESPN that focuses on the global passion for the World Cup — and for the hardcore, the network’s detailed Cup coverage plans are after the jump:
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The 2022 soccer World Cup is to be played in Qatar beginning in June that year and FIFA is discussing a proposal to shift the games due to extremely high temperatures — as much as 122° Fahrenheit — that could adversely affect players. Last month, Fox Sports had balked at a potential move. It paid a record $425M for U.S. broadcast rights to the 2018-2022 World Cup package and is concerned that moving the competition would clash with its broadcast of NFL games. After a meeting in Zurich, FIFA said today that its executive committee would work with the main World Cup stakeholders including leagues, clubs, players and business partners who hold media rights, to determine a course of action. But FIFA said no decision will be forthcoming until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next summer. The English Premier League also opposes a date change since it would force European soccer timetables to shift. The national World Cup teams are made up of players who, in many cases, make their daily living with clubs outside their home countries.
Fox Sports Opposes Proposed Move Of 2022 World Cup Dates
Fox Sports is reportedly balking at a potential move by World Cup soccer governing body FIFA to switch the dates of the 2022 championships in Qatar. Fox paid a record $425M for U.S. broadcast rights to the 2018-2022 World Cup package and, according to Bloomberg sources, is concerned that moving the competition would clash with NFL games. FIFA is discussing a proposal to shift the Qatar games due to extremely high temperatures — as much as 122° Fahrenheit — in the Qatari summer that could adversely affect players. “FIFA has informed us that they are considering and voting on moving the 2022 World Cup,” Fox said in a statement to Bloomberg. “Fox Sports bought the World Cup rights with the understanding they would be in the summer as they have been since the 1930s.” FIFA responded, “The matter of the timing of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be discussed in various ad hoc committees as well as the FIFA Executive Committee, and until these meetings have taken place, FIFA is in no position to make any further comments.” Fox is not alone in its concerns. The English Premier League also opposes a date change since it would force changes to European soccer timetables as the national World Cup teams are made up of players who, in many cases, make their daily living with clubs outside their home countries.
Jailed Canadian Filmmaker And Colleague Begin Hunger Strike
Canadian filmmaker John Greyson, and Tarek Loubani, who have been held without charges in a Cairo jail for more than a month, have informed friends and supporters through their Egyptian lawyers that they have begun a hunger strike. Greyson and Loubani were en route to Gaza when they stopped to ask directions from Egyptian police and were jailed. According to new emergency measures put in place in Egypt. Greyson and Loubani’s detention could be extended up to two years without formal charges. Read More »