When the opportunity presented itself for him to be part of a great team working in South Africa this summer — with the entire world watching — Michael Feinberg jumped at the chance.
No, he's not part of the U.S. soccer team that will be competing at the 2010 World Cup, which officially begins today. Rather, Feinberg is one of the 400-plus ESPN employees that are in the country to provide coverage of the world's most popular sporting event back home.
A Peabody native who now calls Cheshire, Conn. home, Feinberg will play a large part in helping ESPN producing all the pre-game shows, halftime shows and all of the surrounding programs (SportsCenter segments, for instance) from the World Cup.
"I came on board this project last August and jumped at the chance when it was presented to me," Feinberg said from Johannesburg during a recent phone conversation. "It's really an honor to work on a project like the World Cup.
"People were, for lack of a better term, hand chosen to do this for ESPN. So I'm extremely flattered that I was one of those people chosen."
The 43-year-old Feinberg, who graduated from Peabody High in 1985, then from UMass Amherst with a degree in communications five years later, is going back to his roots, so to speak, during his six weeks in South Africa.
Now part of ESPN management as a Coordinating Director in the Studio Directing department — he manages the associate directors and stage managers for a particular program and has a staff of about 80 people — Feinberg is thrilled to be back in the director's chair working at the World Cup.
"It's what I love to do," he said of directing. "To get back in the chair gets my adrenaline going."