Wireless mics let ESPN bring AFL closer to fans

By Andrew Lippe

ESPN took the Arena Football
League to a
new dimension when it broadcast an
Arena Football game using limited commentary with most of the action
being supplied by on-field microphones. With the help of CP Communications, ESPN placed small wireless lavalier
microphones in the shoulder padding of the opposing quarterbacks, on
the opposing defensive backs, on the two offensive coordinators from
each club and on the referee. The game aired on May 12 on ESPN2 in HD
and featured the Philadelphia Soul and the Georgia Force.

“The AFL takes you places
other leagues don’t get to go to,” says Vic Morren senior production
manager for ESPN. “The AFL provides access on a consistent basis
that other leagues do not even provide.”

The ESPN telecast used a Game
Creek Freedom truck and the seven wireless microphones from CP Communications were the most
for any AFL game this year. The microphones are now a key staple of
Arena Football shows. “We are continuing to make live audio a part
of each game,” says Morren.

The game on May 12 featured
limited commentary from AFL analyst Ray Bentley, who narrated the unique
show by leading viewers in and out of commercial breaks, timeouts, and
plays in the red zone.

“You still need the guidance
of the talent,” says Morren. “Live on-field audio just can’t survive
by itself.” Morren also conducted live interviews with
the head coaches throughout the telecast.

AFL teams are aware
of the fact that the wireless access on the field brings attention to
their league. “Audio is prevalent because it helps sell the players
and helps sell the league,” says Morren.