BILLIONS ALLEGEDLY WASTED ON WORLD CUP AND OLYMPIC VENUES;
PROFILES RING ANNOUNCERS MICHAEL AND BRUCE BUFFER; AND
REEXAMINES DISTURBING INCIDENTS OF RACISM IN EUROPEAN SOCCER
WHEN THE EMMY®-WINNING SHOW RETURNS MAY 20, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 206th edition debuts TUESDAY, MAY 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
Other HBO playdates: May 20 (3:45 a.m.), 23 (12:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m.), 24 (9:45 a.m., 1:45 a.m.), 27 (8:15 a.m., 6:00 p.m.) and 29 (3:45 p.m., 8:00 p.m.), and June 1 (7:30 a.m.) and 5 (1:30 a.m.)
HBO2 playdates: May 22 (11:15 p.m.), 25 (11:45 a.m., 2:00 a.m.) and 28 (9:30 p.m.), and June 4 (7:00 p.m.), 12 (11:05 a.m.), 16 (1:40 p.m.) and 21 (5:10 p.m.)
HBO On Demand® availability: May 21–June 16
*White Elephants. Brazil, which some call the spiritual home of soccer, hosts the 2014 World Cup next month. While millions of fans await the sport’s premier spectacle, hundreds of thousands in Brazil have been protesting excessive spending on the construction of soccer stadiums, some of which they regard as “white elephants,” i.e., mega-event complexes built with the promise of future success and riches, but with limited practical use for the future. The protestors are furious at the vast sums of money spent by the government on world-class stadiums while many in the country suffer from inadequate health care, education and infrastructure. Brazil has constructed 12 stadiums in as many cities at a total cost of $4 billion, and four of those are projected to be white elephants.
South Africa, the previous host of the World Cup, is home to nine white elephants, and Greece, host of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, also has many unused stadiums that are a constant reminder of financial incompetence in the wake of the country’s bankruptcy. REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel traveled to Athens, Greece and Manaus and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to see where this troubling trend began and further examine the issue.
Producer: Jordan Kronick.
*The Buffer Brothers. Michael and Bruce Buffer are two of the most recognizable personalities in combat sports. Michael has bellowed his legendary catchphrase “Let’s get ready to rumble!” at nearly all of the most notable boxing matches of the last 30 years, while brother Bruce is the “Veteran Voice of the Octagon” as the announcer for the UFC. Michael was born to a young couple during World War II and entered foster care in Philadelphia at 11 months old. Never formally adopted, he grew up with the surname Huber, but reassumed his legal last name, Buffer, when he joined the Army at age 20.
When Michael became a fixture on the fight scene, Bruce noticed his own striking resemblance to the well-dressed ring announcer, not to mention sharing the same last name. Working up the courage to ask his father if they were related, Bruce was stunned to learn they were indeed brothers. REAL SPORTS correspondent Soledad O’Brien sits down with the enterprising duo to learn more about this unexpected and inspiring story, and how it led to the birth of the Buffer Partnership.
Producer: Maggie Burbank.
*Fields of Hate. With the world’s attention focused on the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, REAL SPORTS revisits its Emmy®-winning 2005 expose of racism in elite professional soccer. In the original report, Bryant Gumbel traveled throughout Europe to talk with players such as French national and English Premier League superstar Thierry Henry, revealing blatant fan racism. Today, incidents of racism in European soccer remain all too frequent, and efforts by governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA to eliminate them have had limited success. Gumbel reexamines this hot-button issue with Henry, now a member of the New York Red Bulls, and American star Jozy Altidore, and seeks to find out what is being done to solve this disturbing problem.
Producers: Chapman Downes, Tim Walker, Beret Remak.
REAL SPORTS was the sole sports program recognized by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a 2012 George F. Peabody Award for broadcast excellence. In addition, it is the only sports program ever honored with two duPont Awards, first in 2005 and again in 2012.
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL debuted April 2, 1995 and has gone on to win the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 15 times, receiving 26 Sports Emmy® Awards overall. On May 6, Real Sports captured the Sports Emmy® Award for Outstanding Sports News Anthology for 2013.
Follow REAL SPORTS updates on HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsports. Join the conversation on Twitter using #RealSports or visiting @RealSportsHBO. Immediately following the debut of this month’s show on May 20, viewers can log on to hbo.com/realsports for a special overtime session hosted by Bryant Gumbel.
The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.