Expanding on the runaway success of half-time interviews, A-League broadcaster Fox Sports is in negotiations with FFA to broaden the depth of its TV coverage, starting with interviewing players who are about to take penalties.
Speaking under condition of anonymity, a Fox Sports producer told FMF that the drive behind increasing the number of on-field interviews – dubbed ‘In Their Face, In Their Space’ interviews in the television industry – is in response to positive feedback from players and fans, as well as attempting to differentiate Fox Sports from rival broadcaster Channel 9, which conducts similar interviews during NRL games.
“Unlike Channel 9’s approach of ‘shove a camera and microphone into the face of a player who has just finished a half of football and see if they’ll snap at you’, Fox Sports rises above such cheap ploys with its half-time interviews.”
“Those watching at home can see that, when our reporters and cameras approach players as they make their way off the field, they’re ecstatic to talk to us, especially if they’re on the losing side. You can see it in the excitement on their faces, not to mention the eloquence of their responses.”
FMF understands the penalty interviews will be a two-stage process. The first stage will consist of an interviewer speaking to the player chosen to take the spot kick. The second will involve interviewing the goalkeeper of the opposing team once the penalty is taken, to get their thoughts on how the penalty went, how they felt they performed, and their confidence going into the remainder of the match.
“We’re working with Football Federation Australia to ensure a solid return on investment from these interviews,” our source continued. “Although we’re still in the planning stages, it’s likely the penalty shot itself will be flanked by two 2-minute ad breaks, to allow time for our crew and equipment to get into position.”
“We acknowledge these ad breaks could break the flow of the game, however they would also provides us with the revenue necessary to further improve our coverage of the game, something which all fans want. For example, we could invest in additional Segway cameras to take onto the field as part of the interviews, which could also provide a revolutionary ‘over the shoulder’ camera angle as the player runs in to take the penalty.”
FMF reached out to several A-League players for comment, with a current player saying he would welcome further opportunities to be heard in fans’ living rooms, and that those protesting the existing half-time interviews don’t understand modern football players.
“Being a football player isn’t just about playing the game, these days,” he told us, under condition of anonymity. “We players understand that our emotional state of mind, not just our physical prowess, is now an important part of the viewing experience.
“Our exasperated expressions and blunt answers during half-time interviews have been wildly misconstrued; we only look that way because we often have so much more to say, but there just isn’t enough time in the interview, so we get frustrated. So the opportunity for extra time in front of the cameras talking about the game is one that a lot of players will jump at.
“I promise you, the more you put us in front of a camera when we’re trying to focus on football, the happier we will be.”
FMF understands that, if the penalty interviews receive a similar positive reception to half-time interviews, the door will be left open for interviews during other parts of the match, such as goal celebrations, throw-ins, and interviewing injured players lying on the pitch.