Friday, July 21, 2006
Carlisle's Amy Rosenfeld brings World Cup Soccer to the world
On the afternoon of July 9, most sports fans in Carlisle joined soccer fans around the world for the televised final between Italy and France in the 2006 World Cup. For Carlisle resident and freelance sports producer Amy Rosenfeld, this was her 64th game in the international competition. By that time, she had spent 15- to 18-hour days for a month holed up in the International Broadcast Center in Munich, Germany, but her enthusiasm never waned, her passion for soccer was undiminished, and her consumption of lattes reached alarming proportions.
Rosenfeld was the senior producer for ESPN and ABC-TV's coverage of World Cup Soccer, with overall responsibility for all 64 games. "I left for Munich on June 2 and returned to Carlisle on July 11," she said. She describes the complex elements that combined to produce the games and the "color" that accompanied them. "The games themselves were provided in a world feed by German television to the American broadcast team and over 200 broadcasters around the world." Rosenfeld sat in the master control room assigned to ESPN and ABC-TV, where she could communicate with ESPN's studios in Bristol, Connecticut. There, pre-game and half-time short features were produced along with coordinating graphics that were integrated into the day's coverage of the games. Rosenfeld also coordinated teams of reporters and producers in Germany covering local stories on players and teams.
Her typical work day exceeded anyone's standard of "a long day at the office." In the early elimination rounds, she covered three games a day, which were scheduled for broadcast at 3, 6 and 9 p.m. in Germany. She would drag herself to the broadcast center at 8 a.m., "with 17 lattes in hand" for a conference call on the day's coverage with the American production team in Germany. Because of the time difference, she made another conference call to ESPN's Connecticut facility at 1 p.m. "I was in that room during the feed of the games from 2 p.m. German time to about midnight, including the post-game show," Rosenfeld recalls. When she returned to her hotel in the wee hours, she would check her "thousands of e-mails" before falling into bed.
Even the least-informed American (like this reporter) knows that the U.S. team was eliminated after only three games. The defeat, however, provided opportunities for Rosenfeld: "When your team is eliminated, your trading ability increases tenfold." She explains that broadcasters from each country carry on a lively international bartering system by trading videos. ABC Sports had a "relatively significant budget" for producing features on other countries' players, for example, from Africa and the Ukraine. After footage of the American team, "this was the next best stuff we had [to trade]," says Rosenfeld. "I've got this video of Angola's best soccer player," she might propose to a colleague. "Give me a French star having croissants." She also points out the amazing trading value of pins of soccer-playing nations, which became important collateral. "I could probably have had a Renault for a 20-cent pin," she jokes.
She did, in fact, trade a pin for a 30-second video clip brought to her by a producer for ITV in Britain. It was shot in a mountainous region of Ghana, located 12 hours from civilization. The clip showed Ghanaians in a remote village watching Ghana play the Czech Republic on a tiny black and white TV hooked up to a car battery. "This, to me, captured the spirit of the World Cup," Rosenfeld observes, "and its power to be a uniting force around the world." She acquired the video for a pin. Incidentally, it was Ghana that handed the U.S. its final defeat.
American security at the World Cup
Asked whether anti-American sentiment was evident at the international event, Rosenfeld says no. However, security around the American team was very heavy. "Their coach had the team stay in Hamburg, not Munich," she reports, "in the midst of a busy shopping area where security was difficult." She adds, "All the teams traveled to and from the stadium in buses. Of all the 32 teams, only the American bus had no identification on it, at the direction of the U.S. team. At all times, the U.S. team was very heavily guarded, with machine guns all around them." Overall, the games were "amazingly free of incident," with only some fans fighting in the stands — generally attributable to "hooligans."
Of all the sports Rosenfeld has covered in her career (which includes four Olympics), soccer is still her favorite. She grew up in Concord and around 1974 started playing in the town's youth soccer league — the only girl among all the boys. She still plays soccer and looks forward to the day when it will be "more than a tier two or three sport in the U.S." The value of World Cup Soccer, she says, is that the sport is viewed with respect on a global scale. "Here at home, it outrated the NBA final," she reports with satisfaction.
Rosenfeld's next job will keep her involved in the sport she loves. She will cover the qualifying rounds of the U.S. Women's Soccer team for the Women's World Cup in China in September 2007. She returned last week from the first of these tune-up games in Blaine, Minnesota, where the temperature was 100 degrees, and she'll soon be off to San Diego for the next round.
For this week, though, she's happy to relax in Carlisle and is thrilled that the Farmers Market will be an important part of her summer.
Ed. note: To read more about Amy Rosenfeld, visit www.carlislemosquito.org and click on the issues of March 15, 2002 ("The queen of curling coverage") and May 26, 2006 ("Sports producer produces a hit at Mosquito Annual Meeting").
© 2006 The Carlisle Mosquito