On Sunday, a national audience in the United States was able to watch the U.S. Men's National Team beat Grenada, 3-2, on ESPN2 in a World Cup qualifying match in St. George’s, Grenada. Though beating the Spice Boyz was definitely a challenge on the field in the rainy conditions, one of the biggest challenges faced on the island was how to broadcast the game from a tiny piece of land, 1,200 miles away from American soil.
U.S. Soccer's production arm, Soccer United Marketing, had their crews begin logistical planning three months prior to Sunday’s game, and the definitely had their work cut out for them as they tried to put together a 50-person production in a country with few media resources. The match was produced by Amy Rosenfeld and directed by Mike Sheehan. Fortunately the entire crew had the support of Grenada locals who helped with cameras, audio and transportation needs on the island.
In order to make the broadcast happen, the biggest and most important task was to get an entire television production truck from Florida onto a barge where it would sail into the harbor at St. George’s. The truck’s voyage took over a week and ended on Thursday (June 17) when it was unloaded by a crane onto the docks. From there it was taken to the main storage facility and prepared for game day.
The crew, including play-by-play announcer Rob Stone and analyst Marcelo Balboa, arrived throughout the week to prepare for the telecast, with the last of the 33 travelling members arriving on Friday. The crews spent their time in Grenada tediously figuring out camera angles and placements for 11 different types of cameras spread throughout the stadium as well as other logistics (such as air conditioning in the booth) in the challenging National Cricket Grounds.
After a full week of early mornings and long rehearsals, Sunday afternoon was finally time to broadcast live back to the United States. The game went off without a hitch and the broadcast signal was beamed back to Bristol, Conn., the home of ESPN, to send across the country.
Once the U.S. victory was in the bag and the broadcast had ended, the crew had to meticulously pack everything back up (which included more than 100 cases of television equipment) and get it back to the United States.
Below is a look at some of scenes behind the broadcast: