Shaw Brown has been behind the scenes of American soccer broadcasts for years, and he's got some entertaining stories to tell.
On the new Planet Fútbol Podcast, we interview Shaw Brown, the lead producer for the Fox Sports broadcasts of U.S. Soccer and MLS games and one of the network’s producers for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
One of the most interesting people in American soccer that you’ve probably never heard of, Brown discusses how he got into the soccer media business and tells some terrific stories from his career over the years.
Here are some highlights from the interview, which can be listened to in full in the podcast console below. (You can subscribe to and download the podcast on iTunes here):
On how he got an unpaid internship with ABC as a 20-year-old college student to work on its World Cup 1994 coverage:
“I remember pitching myself to ABC for the World Cup in New York. I came up for an interview, and it was Presidents Weekend, and my dad came out with me. And the guy forgot that I was coming out, and it was Presidents Monday. And the security guy took pity on me because I had flown out to New York for the weekend, and he called him at home. And I was flying home out of LaGuardia that night, and he said, ‘Well, can you meet me in Long Island?’ And my dad was like, ‘Let’s go.’ And I met him, and as I walked out, my dad said, ‘You realize you’ve got the internship? He feels so bad, that he’s messed up so badly.’ And sure enough, I got the chance to come to New York that summer and worked on the World Cup in ’94 as an intern. One of the few people that knew the sport.”
“The second weekend we were about to put up a graphic on the studio show of the leading scorers, and they had Jurgen Klinsmann. And it was wrong, because Oleg Salenko had scored [five] goals the night before. And I’m sitting there as a 20-year-old deciding whether to open my mouth or not. I’m not exactly short on opinions or scared of much. And I said something. And a guy named Tim Weinkopf, who actually looked out me for many years after that, said, ‘Are you sure?’ And I said yeah. And he’s like, OK. And he went with it, and thank goodness I was right. And Jim McKay from then on wanted me next to him during all the studio shows. They came to me after the semis and said, ‘Hey, we’re bringing you to the World Cup final in L.A.’ And I’m like, ‘What? You’re going to pay me for this?’”
On what he prioritizes in producing a soccer TV broadcast:
“It’s the game. For me, it’s always the game. Anything else is gravy. As long as the game comes out well and the broadcast of that comes out well, and as long as my announcers are smart and look smart and we’ve made sure that we have done them right so that everything comes off correctly, then I think we’ve had a good broadcast. You’re never going to please everyone, and you’re never going to have a perfect broadcast. It’s just not possible. Someone’s going to make a mistake. Most of the time it will be me. But someone’s going to make a mistake on a broadcast. You’re asking for a lot. You’ve worked in live TV. You know what it’s like. It’s so many moving parts, and so many things can happen. But I think the preparation of it to make sure we know what we’re looking for going in is so important.”