Last July, when Inter Miami CF signed soccer legend Lionel Messi, Scott Boggins recalls getting a notification about the news on his phone and thinking how great that was for the team. Little did he know that less than a month later, he would be on the pitch in South Florida, serving as the showrunner and an executive producer of Messi Meets America, Apple TV+'s docuseries from Smuggler Entertainment.
Here, the producer, whose credits include the Olympics on NBC from Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens and Torino, as well as HBO Sports' 24/7 and Showtime's Hoops U, explains how his team told one of the biggest sports stories ever in real-time.
MUSE: What was the pre-production process like for this whirlwind project?
Scott Boggins: There wasn't any time to slowly ramp up on this. It just happened. I've been a part of several productions like that before—where you've taken off on a plane, and you're still building the plane as it's flying. My specialty is assembling creative teams quickly under super-challenging timelines and deadlines. So, you're hitting the ground running, and you're not stopping until it's done.
You obviously had to start editing while you were filming.
Yeah, it was parallel. We were editing and shooting material at the same time. The communication with our crew was just incredible between post-production and field production. That, as the showrunner, is one of my bigger responsibilities—to make sure that we're all communicating, because we're dealing with a topic that's happening in real-time. The unexpected happens, and certainly in the first half of the series, no one expected Inter Miami to make the run that they did.
Do you see parallels between running a production team and running a sports team?
Sometimes I feel like a general manager of a baseball team.
Throughout the series, you weave in the perspectives of fans, small business owners and journalists, showing the seismic impact of Messi's arrival.
That was a big thing. We wanted to better understand the impact. We wanted to go into the community and explore that idea. At the end of the day, we didn't just want to be about wins and losses and strategy.
What was it like spending time with Messi?
When you see him as a father, as a husband spending time away from the field, you understand that this was about more than winning another cup or title. It was a very personal decision for him. Obviously, there were financial aspects to it, but he wanted to come to Miami because he wanted to raise his family, his boys, in America. That was a big decision for him. He also loves the game so much. He understands and sees the potential growth that's happening here, and he saw an opportunity to share that passion.
How was it working with Smuggler on Messi Meets America?
They put together the playing field. They brought all of these partners together, and they were the ones who had been working with the Messi group well before I was able to get in and start filming. As a production company, they've given the editors, shooters and producers like myself all the tools we need to be successful. When you do this type of television, a lot of luck comes into it, because you're trying to get out in front of a story, and you don't know which direction it's going to go. If you don't have a solid foundation to operate from, which is what a production company like Smuggler provides, it makes it virtually impossible.