FOX Sports has unveiled their studio for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and it’s a work of art. The aesthetics of the studio (see video below) are incredible. It looks like a studio that will grab the attention of viewers who catch a glimpse of it as they click through on their remote or stumble across it on a TV in a bar or restaurant.
It does exactly what it’s meant to do. It’s captivating, but also practical. It can be used for a few different sets throughout the day’s programming. It is, in the words of Ray Hudson, magisterial.
The occupants of the studio for the four weeks this summer will be a familiar set of faces. Presenters Rob Stone, Fernando Fiore, Ian Joy and Kate Abdo will be flanked by studio pundits Alexi Lalas, Aly Wagner, Ian Wright, Lothar Matthäus, Guus Hiddink and others. Meanwhile, I’m sure Stu Holden and others will stroll by the set when they have a free day in Moscow.
It’s just a shame that a studio of this beauty (which looks like a mirror-image copy of ESPN’s previous World Cup studio) is undermined by the fact that 65% of the commentators FOX Sports will be using will be holed up in a studio in Los Angeles calling the games off a monitor — with access to the same live broadcast feed that we’ll be seeing on our TV sets.
Having the majority of the commentators in Russia is a must-have.
By spending so much money on this studio, which is housed in a stand-alone building in Red Square, FOX Sports have placed more value in a building than on their own talent. If only FOX had spent less on their studio or had decided to share studio space with the other broadcasters (as Telemundo and others are doing), they could have afforded to send their the vast majority of their commentators to Russia. Instead, the only FOX announcers in Russia will be John Strong/Holden and JP Dellacamera/Tony Meola.