Friday, September 7, 2012
A Joy-ous Occasion
beIN Sport, which has snapped up several big competitions to air and several trusted names to speak of them. Being curious, I hollered at NSC pal (and honorary STL homeboy emeritus) Ian Joy to get a view of the operation from the new kid on the block's new kid as his channel gets set to tackle its first USMNT World Cup qualifier on Friday night.
NSC: What will be your duties at beIN and who will you paired with in the broadcasts?
IJ: I will be providing color commentary for Italian Serie A, French Ligue 1 and Spanish La Liga, as well as South American qualifiers, Europa League and who knows what else that might come our way. Alongside my color duties, I will be working in studio as a co-host/analyst for "The Express" show alongside Terri Leigh and Temryss Lane on occasion.
In the booth for gameday, we have the legendary Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson. We also have German world cup winner Bodo Illgner providing commentary in English, as well as on our Spanish channel. We are in the process of securing another play by play analyst, so watch this space.
NSC: What is the great thing they bring to the table?
IJ: Well, Phil and Ray are a tag-team made in heaven for a lot of our U.S. viewers. Phil has experience in all of the top leagues around the world and has already taught me a thing or two about working on national television day in and day out. Ray as we all know is electrifying when it comes to the best teams in the world and none other than his beloved Barcelona.
Having someone like Bodo on our team is incredible as his experience of football at the highest level is remarkable and very hard to find.
NSC: What kind of things do you do to get prepared for upcoming assignments?
IJ: Each game takes a lot of time to prepare for as every game is completely different. New teams, different countries and at this moment in time it's especially difficult, as there is a lot of last minute changes with the transfer market just closing players have transferred left, right and center.
Making sure you know every single player in the gameday roster inside and out is vital, so that no surprises spring up during the game, live on air.
NSC: Which leagues are you most excited to cover at the new channel and why?
IJ: All of them. Honestly, after being a player in Major League Soccer between 2008-10, then working on the broadcast within Major League Soccer for Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas, all I have been watching and studying has been Major League Soccer.
So I lost a lot of contact with the European game for a while, but now with so many games live on beIN Sport, it's just fantastic to see the French, Italian and Spanish leagues once again up close. When I was growing up in Scotland, we used to have only four TV channels and every Sunday we'd have an Italian Serie A game. So I have a strong passion for Italian football, if i had to choose one.
NSC: Did you ever imagine you'd get into this game so quickly after being a player? And either way, how did you manage it?
IJ: No, I didn't imagine I would be on a national TV broadcast at all, let alone so soon after retiring from the game. But I always said that football is my degree, I have lived football day in and day out since I was born. My father was a pro and all I did was watch football or play football with him until I turned pro. I feel extremely lucky that I managed to play so long as a professional, especially after some of the terrible injuries I have had throughout my career. And now, to have a future as an analyst with beIN Sport is just surreal.
The vision that beIN Sport has is just out of this world and to have an opportunity to be a part of something from the beginning was too good to be true. Its a family atmosphere at work and you can tell that the bosses have picked their people out very carefully. I am very happy to be a part of the beIN Sport family and look forward to a very long future together.
You can follow the exploits of Joy (if not also pick up some future "Things Ray Hudson Says Off-Air" doozies) at his Twitter page: @JOYPAULIAN.
- Greg Seltzer