FOX Sports has recently made moves to build its’ coverage to a world-class level in preparation for its FIFA World Cup broadcasts beginning in 2015 with the FIFA Women’s World Cup through FIFA World Cup tournaments in 2018 and 2022.
The changes include the addition of Jonty Whitehead, a veteran of Sky Sports and Al Jazeera Sports Channel, who joined FOX Soccer several weeks ago as Executive Producer. Meanwhile, Senior Vice President of Production & Programming, Executive Producer and Assistant General Manager of FOX Soccer Dermot McQuarrie, who has been at FOX for 15 years, has shifted priorities to focus on FOX Soccer’s nightly flagship show, FOX Soccer News. Last, but not least, FOX Sports has announced the hiring of David Neal, a sports industry veteran, to lead FOX Sports Media Group’s FIFA World Cup coverage.
Neal’s responsibilities as Executive Producer of “World Cup On FOX,” include developing a creative plan, designing the production infrastructure for FOX Sports Media Group’s stadium and studio operations, as well as forming the on-air, production and technical teams to call and present the action. Simultaneously, Neal works closely with FIFA, host broadcaster HBS and the local World Cup host organizing committees to implement FOX’s operational plan for each World Cup event. He’ll also work closely with FOX Soccer to expand the network’s programming and business opportunities and production capabilities. In addition to preparing for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, Neal is expected to work on next summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
In his three decades at NBC, Neal produced nine Olympics, four NBA Finals, two World Series, and a Super Bowl pregame show. In addition to his 34 Emmys, Neal’s creativity and innovation were recognized with a Peabody Award following the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.
Neal also has a lot of experience in soccer. According to a FOX Sports spokesperson, Neal spent most of the year prior to joining FOX as Executive Producer of Univision Deportes (via his production company) and completely revamped their live soccer coverage including game coverage, studio shows, graphics and introduced the “Liberovision” multi-axis graphics device to their coverage. He led them through both the Gold Cup and Copa America tournaments in 2011, reaching an audience of 11 million+ viewers for the US vs. Mexico Gold Cup final from the Rose Bowl. Plus, Neal introduced SKYCAM in Univision’s coverage of the US-Mexico Gold Cup final.