Without the U.S. Team in Gold Cup Final, Fox Sports Dials Back Onsite Production
Few have plunged headfirst into a sport more aggressively than Fox Sports’ Tom Lynch. Having never worked a soccer event until two months ago, he has taken the network’s “Summer of Soccer” mantra to heart, traveling to Vancouver to work the FIFA Women’s World Cup and then returning to the States to oversee Fox Sports’ coverage of the U.S. men’s national team in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Unfortunately, the journey came to a somewhat unceremonious end when a loss to Jamaica in the semifinals on Wednesday knocked the Americans out of the final (the team will play in a third-place match against Panama tomorrow). As a result, Fox Sports will have a dialed-back presence at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday for the final (7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1). Now instead of traveling a studio set and having an on-field presence, Fox Sports will stick with the formula that has worked throughout the tournament: keeping the studio back home in Los Angeles.
That doesn’t mean the game production itself won’t be topnotch. Fox Sports will be working out of NEP’s Corplex Iridium (with B unit), using the CONCACAF-provided host feed to produce its own show.
“We’re very lucky to be downstream from them,” Lynch says of CONCACAF. “They put together a great feed.”
Fox Sports receives a packaged feed that is ready for air. On top of that, CONCACAF provides approximately 10 isolated feeds from its camera sources that Fox can cut in at its discretion. In addition, Fox was also permitted to deploy two of its own handheld sideline cameras and a booth camera to spotlight on-air talent.
“Those cameras will allow us to add a little bit of our own flavor to the show,” says Lynch. “If there’s somebody in the crowd we want to see, we can do that. Plus, if something were to happen to the host and we needed to go on our own, we have an emergency backup.”
Taking advantage of the openness of that near sideline was one of Lynch’s biggest takeaways from his recent foray into major soccer productions. It’s a significant change from many traditional U.S. sports.
“Technically, soccer is set up very much like an American football game,” he says. “There’s more on-the-field–type coverage and some lower cameras. Traditionally, we have a cart camera to get up over all of the coaches and players on the sideline. In soccer, the near side is practically all ours. So it’s set up to be covered as best as it can be on the near side. I think that’s not a bad thing at all from the TV side.”