The Elon alumnus was recognized for his contributions to FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup.
The most prominent award Luke LeSourd ’13 has ever received was one he never saw coming.
The journalism major was bowling when he received an unexpected text informing him that he had won his first national sports Emmy for his contributions to FOX Sports’ transmedia coverage of the 2018 FIFA Men’s World Cup.
“I had no idea that we won until my boss at the NFL contacted me,” he said. “I had won a regional Emmy before with the (NFL’s Washington) Redskins, but this was way cooler because it was national and it was just validation for all the hard work I did.”
The national Emmy, presented in May 2019, was LeSourd’s second overall Emmy. His first regional Emmy was awarded in 2016 for his contribution to the Redskins Broadcast Network documentary “Taylor Made for the Hall.”
As an associate producer on the FIFA World Cup project, LeSourd was mainly involved with post-production features work. Some projects included a Uruguay v. Portugal game tease, a Poland v. Colombia game tease and an England v. Belgium music video. He also took part in writing scripts for the opens and voiceovers, assisting editors in laying out footage, choosing music and selecting shots.
Whether they were “cranking out” teases, bumps, music videos or opens, LeSourd said he and his team, who were based in Los Angeles at Fox Studios for the duration of the project, produced a variety of edited features.
Working non-stop for six weeks with only one day off was stressful, chaotic and exciting all at once, LeSourd recalled. But seeing how a network aired a large production and having the creative freedom to contribute projects to the coverage made the hours worth it.
“The team at Fox was great because they gave us a lot of freedom,” LeSourd said. “It was very much you take ownership of your own piece. I loved having that creative freedom.”
The opportunity to cover the 2018 Men’s World Cup not only allowed LeSourd to discover what projects made him most passionate, but also opened a door for him to return for the 2019 Women’s Cup coverage the following year.
LeSourd said he quickly found that his favorite projects were the “scripted, dramatic pieces” that “get people pumped up for the upcoming match.”
“What really helped me in learning what I really like to do was the Men’s World Cup,” he said. “I cut so many different scripted opens and stuff like that that I realized I really like this, I have a passion for this, and I think this is something that I could do.”
LeSourd spent the 2019 football season working with NFL Media as a segment producer. Following this year’s Super Bowl, LeSourd started working at Blizzard Entertainment, a video game development company. LeSourd is currently spending the offseason in Los Angeles working for Blizzard’s esports division on its game “Overwatch,” but he plans to return to the NFL for the 2020 season.
Kenn Gaither, associate dean in the School of Communications and professor of strategic communications, remembers LeSourd as a motivated, hardworking “sports guy.”
“He was very driven and interested in sports,” Gaither said. “It was clear that that’s what he wanted to do, and I remember that about him right away. My earliest impression of him was, ‘Here’s somebody who really likes sports.’”
LeSourd’s interest in sports began long before he arrived at Elon.
“Like most red-blooded American kids, I grew up wanting to play in the NFL or play baseball professionally,” LeSourd said. “I think it was about junior year of high school where I realized, ‘You know, I think my athletic career is probably best suited for high school.’”
But the biggest question for LeSourd, whose sister Cate graduated from Elon in 2015, was how to stay involved in sports if he wasn’t playing them. After seeing NFL Network host – and now friend – Rich Eisen on air, LeSourd thought sports analysis was the route he wanted to take.
It wasn’t until he came to Elon, the only school on his college search that allowed students to jump right into experimenting with equipment, that he realized he liked being behind the camera more.
“At Elon, they give you a camera on your first day,” LeSourd said. “It’s very hands-on. I really like that.”
LeSourd fondly remembers a conversation he had with Joe Accordino ’11 during Elon’s Fellows weekend about a sports show he had created based on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption,” LeSourd’s favorite sports show at the time. That show was “One-on-One Sports,” and LeSourd knew he had found his home.
“I just thought, ‘This is my dream,” he said. “This is perfect.’”
LeSourd appreciated the opportunity to do a little bit of everything – serve as on-camera talent for webcasts and debates, play studio cameraman and contribute graphic design work. It all validated his interest in remaining behind the camera.
“One of the challenges with student media is students come along and they’re really interested and they keep it afloat, and when they graduate there’s no one there to pick up the torch,” Gaither said. “Luke was one of those who picked up the torch and continued to elevate ‘One-on-One Sports,’ and boy did it fit him perfectly with what he wanted to do.”
Looking back now, LeSourd credits much of his career success to the professors and opportunities he had at Elon.
“I think back to so many professors and classes that I had on a day-to-day basis, and I don’t believe I’d be where I am now with the jobs I have without that,” LeSourd said. “I still take lessons that I learned in different classes and from professors, and I carry those with me to this day.”
His future career goals? LeSourd jokingly said he hopes to win another Emmy, which he’s done twice by the age of 28. But his long-term career goal is to become the big-time producer who sits in the fancy chair.
“I do love live TV and I like the post-production aspect of it,” LeSourd said, “but I think I want to sit in the chair and actually produce shows. So I think that’s my next big goal.”