US SoccerUS Soccer

ABC Enhances 2002 MLS All-Star Broadcast

NEW YORK (Tuesday, July 30, 2002) - The 2002 MLS All-Star Game, which will be broadcast live on Saturday, August 3 by ABC Sports (3:30 p.m. ET), will offer a soccer experience never before witnessed on American broadcast television. With the most extensive complement of audio ever used in televised soccer in the U.S., viewers will experience one of the most magical days in the history of American soccer as if they were actually on the playing field.

MLS' seventh All-Star Game celebrates the past, present and future of soccer in America as the 2002 MLS All-Stars face the U.S. National Team, composed largely of MLS players who competed at the 2002 World Cup, where the U.S. finished among the top eight teams in the world. The event will also highlight America's World Cup heroes of the recent past with several donning the Red, White and Blue with Bruce Arena's squad. Tributes are also in store for other soccer personalities who have made important contributions to the growth of soccer in this country.

"The unprecedented array of production elements that compose this ABC telecast will ensure that the 2002 MLS All-Star Game will be an unforgettable television experience for American soccer fans," said MLS executive producer Michael Cohen. "For an event as memorable as the one this Saturday at RFK Stadium, viewers will not only see a spectacular display of skill, but they will feel the emotion of this extraordinary occasion."

A new level of television audio will be delivered to the fans at home by ABC's first-ever stereo broadcast of the MLS All-Star Game with a mixture of bench, sideline and goalmouth microphones, wireless microphones and underground Turf Mics. With coverage from literally every location on and around the playing surface, the audio experience will be the equivalent of being on the field at the game.

Among the audio innovations is the use of "Turf Mics" which cover the audio void in the middle of soccer's large playing surface that is cannot be picked up by sideline equipment alone.  Developed by five-time Emmy award-winning ABC/ESPN sound engineer Thom Mangan especially for MLS through Dakota Productions of Ambler, Pennsylvania, Turf Mic is a wireless microphone system that is buried under the playing surface. The microphone casing is similar in size to a golf hole and is installed in just minutes in much the same way.  With the use of new lithium batteries, installation can take place up to 90 minutes before a soccer match.

In addition, two sideline reporters - Rob Stone and Veronica Paysse - will be armed with wireless microphones and will enjoy full access to team benches for interviews and game reaction with coaches, players and other soccer celebrities throughout the broadcast. Stone and Paysse will not be the only persons carrying microphones at field level. With a complement of cameras including steadicams, a super slo-mo, a Jib and robotic goal cameras, the ABC broadcast will bring the 2002 MLS All-Star Game home to the viewer in an unprecedented manner.

The 2002 MLS All-Star Game also features the debut of a new graphics and animation package that will be used on all MLS broadcasts for the remainder of this season and through 2003. The elements were created and produced by Winnercomm, which has created MLS' broadcast graphics since the League's inception. In collaboration with MLS and ESPN, the company was also responsible for designing the comprehensive animated graphics of the 2002 FIFA World Cup from which the MLS and 2003 Women's World Cup graphics packages derive.

ABC Sports, in its seventh season of MLS coverage, and ESPN are the League's primary national English-language television outlets. The combined networks - ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports - present the most comprehensive soccer coverage in the United States, featuring Major League Soccer, the Men's and Women's World Cup, U.S. National Team soccer and the NCAA Men's and Women's soccer championships.