Students of the study abroad course Global Sports, Media and Entertainment produced this content as official members of the media covering a LaLiga game in Barcelona between Espanyol and Almeria. It was the final match day of the 2022-23 season.
John Shrader, June 2023
“WHAT ARE WE UP TO?”
By Jack Shaw
The Big Red Barcelona crew got the opportunity to cover Espanyol’s final game of the La Liga season June 4, against Almería as accredited members of the media. The experience included official press passes, access to the postgame interviews in the media room. Each member of the team was assigned a different job for the game.
The trio of Lucas Garton, Nolan Hemmett, and Maddie Lind were in a broadcast booth in the press box where they announced and broadcasted the match. “I was responsible for recording the game in a broadcast style. Lucas was play-by-play and I was color,” Nolan said. “Lucas did most of the prep work for the game so that was nice. I used to broadcast games in high school so I thought jumping back into it was going to be challenging but I really enjoyed it,” Hemmett said.
As well as contributing to the broadcast, Lind wrote about her observations from the booth, as it was her first time being part of a broadcast. “I did a perspective piece on Nolan and Lucas broadcasting the game as American students in Spain,” Maddie said. “I recorded observations and the differences between American sports and Spanish sports.”
Tommy Pepke and Rodney Hayes were tasked with interviewing fans during the pregame, and helped out with various tasks while the game was going on. “I went and interviewed fans outside the stadium with Rodney and came back inside to catch some audio and video of the fans whistling at the refs,” Tommy said. “When the game started I helped Kieran with his live tweets and helped him double check the info he was tweeting. At halftime and at the end of the game I took videos of the broadcast crew and posted them to my story, as well as many other videos and photos that I took during the game.”
Hayes also completed a game report, in which he discussed the overall experience, as well as what occurred during the match. “I did interviews on Espanyol fans about culture, relegation, and community with Tommy. During the game, I did game notes and fan pictures,” Hayes said.
Bri Breazier has written a piece about how an American, and a non-soccer fan, views and experiences a match and how it compares to sporting events that take place in the United States. “I’m doing a personal observation and storytelling formal essay on Espanyol’s fan experience.”
“I’m discussing the fans feelings, actions, or any signage taking place during the match tonight,” Bri said.
Kieran Strawmier was assigned the role of our social media guru for the day, where he reported updates on Twitter and Instagram from pregame, live updates during the game, and scenes from after the match.
“I covered the pregame on Instagram and followed fellow students as they worked on their respective jobs capturing BTS (behind the scenes),” Kieran said. “Then during the game I tried my best to live tweet the game. It went well, it was interesting to cover the game and be respectful of the surrounding context to the match.”
You can follow Strawmier @kstrawmier1 on Instagram and Twitter to view his work from the match.
Ryan Doerrer was assigned the task of capturing all of the students at work and creating a video that covers each student and their experience. Ryan’s video accompanies.
The Big Red Barcelona team would like to thank RCD Espanyol and Andrés Merello Clarke for the opportunity to cover the team’s final match of the season.
THE GAME REPORT
By Rodney Hayes
As the game started for Espanyol vs Almeria the crowd was emphatic and passionate with their chants and whistles. Espanyol fans feel the refs and the league have been cheating them with audacious calls, harsh yellow cards and bad VAR rulings from the referees. Espanyol was already officially relegated from the first division, and Almeria’s status had not been decided.
Surprisingly star striker Joselu who has 16 goals and two assists this season for Espanyol, ws not in the starting lineup, as there are rumors for a loan or sale to Real Madrid FC. Playmaker and creator Oscar Gil for Espanyol was also on the bench for the game, surprising both Espanyol and Almeria fans. Martin Braithwaite and Denis Suarez both started for the Parakeets.
Almeria needed a win or a draw to stay in the first division. To do this Almeria’s leading creator, playmaker and midfielder L. Robertone, who had two goals and seven assists, started for Almeria, as well as the fast and physical striker El Bilal Toure who has scored six goals.
In the first half the teams were fairly even, but Espanyol had the edge in terms of possession with 63% possession to Almeria’s 37%. Epsanyol has a season average of 44.1% possession while Almeria has an average of 45.1% possession per 90 minutes. Possession isn’t everything although as Almeria striker Tore scored in the 10th minute. Espanyol bounced back with a goal just eight minutes later, scoring in the 18th minute with Javi Puado, he got a through overhead lob ball and volleyed the ball with technique past the Almeria keeper.
The game went back and forth but Espanyol retained majority possession. Center-back Cesar Montes exemplified possession in the first half for Espanyol having 87.1% passes completed, higher than any other player on the pitch.
The teams ended the first 45 tied at one goal apiece.
Coming into the second half Espanyol came out of the locker room and scored on a great buildup play reminiscent of Barcelona’s tiki taka style in the late 2000’s in the 48th minute. Ronal Pierre-Gabriel scored his first goal of the season with a spectacular volley in the Almeria goal box.
Almeria wouldn’t stay silent as Adri Embarba scored just 10 minutes later in the 58th minute with a creative, audacious chip over the Espanyol Goalkeeper Joan Garcia.
In the 73rd minute Espanyol youngster Luca Koleosho, who can still declare to play internationally for either Canada or the USA – scored a finesse shot just outside the box that showed considerable promise. Almeria then got a controversial penalty that Espanyol fans did not like even with VAR review. Adri Embarba took the PK and scored again giving hope for Almeria to stay up.
Tensions were getting high during the game after the penalty. Yellow cards were starting to be shown for the blatant and frustrated players on both sides as Almeria needed to stay up and Epsanyol were trying to ruin their day. Because there were so many fouls the referee added ten minutes of extra time to the 90. Through the extra time the scoreline did not change. It ended 3-3. Almeria was spared relegation.
Espanyol fans were left battered, bruised and displeasured as they watch their team move to the second division next season. The Almeria fans on hand, most of whom were sitting in a designated area in the upper reaches of RCDE Stadium, stayed. They cheered, celebrated and cried.
Stark, contrasting themes but the brutality of the sport and life in and out of La Liga’s top division.
NEBRASKA STUDENTS CALL A LA LIGA MATCH
By Maddie Lind
The experience of broadcasting has transformed the way we engage with sports, giving us the ability to deepen the relationship between live sporting events and invested fans. Recently, I had the opportunity to witness fellow peers, Nolan Hemmett and Lucas Garton, create a captivating broadcast that highlighted the dynamic nature of sports announcing in soccer.
As we arrived at the La Liga match in Barcelona between the host team Espanyol and Almeria as members of the media, the announcers’ commitment was evident in the hour leading up to the game. With prepared game notes and stats in hand, they used the hour to review information to enhance their understanding of the teams and players playing in the match. Their dedication was clear throughout the broadcast as they demonstrated a desire to provide the audience with informed and insightful commentary. They used game notes and player statistics as references, an ode to their commitment to accuracy, and ability to weave analytical insights into the game story. Using their expertise, Lucas and Nolan elevated the quality of the broadcast, acting as the eyes and ears of the audience to ultimately provide listeners with a rich and comprehensive experience.
As the broadcast began, my attention was immediately drawn to the fans collectively dressed in black, filling in the front seats that are set behind the goal. Their presence was not only in support of, but also a poignant remembrance of Dani Jarque, whom they honor during the 21st minute of the match. Jarque, who spent his entire career with Espanyol, died of a heart attack in 2009 at the age of his 26. He wore the number 21. This moment of remembrance was special not only to the fans and community of RCD Espanyol but was also powerful in the sense that it highlighted the deep connection that fans have with their team and the way sports can unite people and communities.
Additionally, it was impossible not to hear the loud and persistent whistling during the pre-game that fans directed at the referees during their entrance, and in the first half of the game. This highlighted the emotional investment of the Espanyol fans that was ultimately fueled by the pure disappointment and heartbreak of relegation from La Liga’s First Division. The passion displayed by the fans seemed to serve as a constant reminder of the impact sports unfailingly have on people’s lives.
The use and integration of technology throughout the broadcast was crucial to the production of the show. Both Lucas and Nolan brought their own equipment, including microphones to record, recording devices, and headphones, which allowed them to hear the audio as it is recorded to maintain seamless announcing and deliver clear and crisp audio for the audience at home. They made a conscious decision to stand during the game, which provided them with the all-encompassing view of the pitch, allowing them to capture plays as they occur through players’ movements, passes, and provide in-depth play-by-play commentary. The television provided in the studio showed the live broadcast, despite being slightly delayed. It allowed the two to analyze and discuss any replays that may occur. The combination of instant replay analysis and the in-person viewing of the live action game ultimately works together to enhance the audience’s understanding and enjoyment of the game and add depth to the insights that both of the announcers are able to make.
Overall, it’s clear that the captivating broadcasting experience that is not only created on a professional level, but also by Nolan and Lucas for job experience as amateur college broadcasters, is cultivated for the audience through preparation, and integration of technology which all work together to create a dynamic and engaging listening experience that remains a vital way for fans to connect with sports in the digital age and world of sports.
The broadcast was professional and entertaining, good work for amateur college broadcasters. It was a really good experience for Lucas Garton and Nolan Hemmett, who proved that preparation and integration of technology work to help create a dynamic and engaging experience. It’s still a vital way in the digital age for the fans to connect with their teams.
Note: Lucas Garton and Nolan Hemmett did not ‘broadcast’ the game, which would have been a violation of La Liga broadcast rules. They recorded their work. You can hear a few highlights here:
Espanyol Takes 2-1 Lead:
Espanyol Takes a 3-2 Lead:
Almeria Ties the game 3-3 on a PK:
LOTS TO LEARN AND APPRECIATE ABOUT BEING A SOCCER FAN
By Brianna Breazier
“If there’s no justice for Espanyol, then there’s no peace for the corrupt.” This was the black and white sign that sat in bold letters behind the goal that Espanyol was defending on Sunday night’s game against Almería. What does this mean to Espanyol fans? What does this mean to maybe a new follower of fútbol?
Prior to my time in Spain, I had not been an avid follower of fútbol. (Of course in the US and a couple of other places in the world, we call it soccer.) It wasn’t until Espanyol’s match on May 24 that I had actually seen a match in person. That match was electric, an adrenaline rush from start to finish and a roller coaster of emotions with Espanyol’s comeback. This match as a new fan of fútbol was a pill that became difficult to swallow as the match went on. Seeing so many raw and real emotions from a group of people that probably have been avid fans of fútbol their entire lives is a difficult thing to witness as someone who is so new to the sport itself. Atletico de Madrid took a 3-0 lead in the match only to watch Espanyol score three straight goals, and it ended 3-3.
“It is a request from the Catalan Penyes Federation. And the club itself joined the campaign, declaring “mourning for sports justice,” wrote a blogger named Gregory on socialbites.ca. Many of the Espanyol fans who walked into RCDE Stadium for Sunday night’s match were covered in black and white. This is not a game of excitement or electricity like Espanyol’s match on May 24, which ended in a tie putting Espanyol into relegation.
Sunday’s match portrayed anger, heart break and pure frustration against the fútbol officials that have covered Espanyol’s prior matches. Espanyol had already been relegated before this final match of the season. The fans felt cheated out of the First Division. Right when the whistle blows at kickoff Espanyol refused to move, the opening kick rolling harmlessly on the field. Almería was notified that Espanyol would stand still and silent for the first few seconds of the match. They were complicit. It’s not just the fans that stand in solidarity with the club.
So, what does a passionate and head strong fan base do? They blow their whistles and scream for the entirety of the game, except when there’s a good play to root for. It’s an intense and ear-piercing sound, its intention is to make the officials or the ‘corrupt’ uncomfortable. However, one could look at this act by fans as a metaphor for the season.
At the 23-minute mark and the 35-minute mark in the first half Espanyol’s fans on the north end of the stadium threw beach balls on the field, which paused the game until they were properly collected.
“Mourning for sports justice” was the second sign draped over the top tier ledge of the east side of the stadium on Sunday night’s match. So what does this entail exactly? The results don’t change; it was still a 3-3 draw, that not ironically kept Almeria in the First Division, by virtue of its 83rd minute game-tying goal.
This remains group of deeply passionate Espanyol fans. Certainly, they will not go quietly to the second division.