Saturday, July 08, 2006

ABC and XM Ready for the Finals....

Jim Williams: O’Brien, Balboa shine together at Cup

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jul 8, 2006 5:00 AM (3 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 12,114 articles

WASHINGTON - When ESPN/ABC named Dave O’Brien their lead announcer for World Cup 2006, most soccer fans said, “Dave who?”

But after a full month of calling games with partner Marcelo Balboa, more fans are now commenting on their quality and style.
O’Brien has been solid, never overselling games but keeping the drama and energy level high while Balboa has been clear and honest.

Instead of guys trying to be BBC commentators, we have a duo soccer fans — more importantly, regular fans — can understand. The result has been good ratings for ESPN/ABC and the emergence of a top-notch broadcasting team.
I have been in contact over the past month by phone and e-mail with O’Brien and here are some observations from his first World Cup.

“It became clear to me as we were getting ready for the opening that this was the biggest telecast of my career,” O’Brien said. “To the right was Boris Becker doing the German feed, then looking to the left we saw Diego Maradona doing TV for Argentina. It was really the first time that I felt the real gravity of the event.”
O’Brien also commented on working with the ‘world feed’; there is only one production crew working the game and it’s a German one with over 40 HD cameras. But everyone around the world is at least seeing the same thing.
“This is the first time I’ve ever worked with a ‘host feed,’ which is just a little less challenging than steering a car downhill on an icy road,” O’Brien said. “We have no idea which replays are coming next. ... This truly is an awesome event and one I will never forget.”

The World Cup final can be seen Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on ABC 7, Univision and XM Radio.

Dave Calls the final…

Dave Johnson of WTOP and Comcast SportsNet will call the World Cup final for XM this is a big deal. It is the first time that a broadcaster will do the game live in both the United States and Canada for an American radio broadcaster.
We are indeed very happy for Dave who has done an brilliant job of play-by-play for XM for the entire month of soccer establishing himself as one of the best in the business.
Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

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