Friday, March 5, 2010

2010 ESPN FIFA World Cup Play By Play Announcers

ESPN has released the names of their play by play announcers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and all I can say is damn, I am excited for the World Cup this year. ESPN has taken the harsh criticisms of the 2006 FIFA World Cup and taken them to heart. We already knew that they were bringing in play-by-play legend Martin Tyler to be their lead, but what we did not know until now is that they are taking all 4 of their TV PbP guys from the Motherland, with the only PbP holdover from the 2006 World Cup being the only PbP Brit they had in the booth, Adrian Healey. To complete the list of 4, Martin Tyler and Adrian Healey will be joined by Derek Rae and Ian Darke to round out the depth chart of ESPN's 2010 World Cup play-by-play announcers. From an ESPN Press Release

“The group of commentators we have assembled represents some of the finest English-language voices for televised soccer anywhere in the world,” said Jed Drake, ESPN’s executive producer, 2010 FIFA World Cup. “They present the sport at its highest level and their first-hand knowledge of the players who will compete in the FIFA World Cup will greatly inform fans and enhance how we present this global event in the United States.”

Tyler, who was previously announced as ESPN’s lead play-by-play commentator for the FIFA World Cup, is one of the most renowned voices of the sport and has broadcast every World Cup since 1978. He will be joined by a trio of announcers who have collectively called the most prestigious leagues and competitions in the world over the past two decades.

Darke has handled play-by-play for English Premier League and Champions League matches since 1992, and he joins Tyler as one of the world’s most recognizable soccer voices. He joined Sky Sports in 1992 after 10 years covering soccer, boxing and other sports for BBC Radio and is also considered one of the UK’s most respected boxing broadcasters. Darke continues to commentate on Premier League games for Trans World International (TWI) and is a primary host of its weekly magazine show.

Healey provides play-by-play commentary for ESPN International’s coverage of the UEFA Championship League, Spain's La Liga, Italian Serie A, and English FA Cup matches. He also handled play-by-play for ESPN’s live coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China, as well as the network’s coverage of World Cup qualifiers and Euro 2008 qualifying matches. Healey serves as a host of the popular soccer debate and discussion show ESPN Soccernet Press Pass and ESPN2’s Barclays Premier League prematch, halftime and postmatch segments.

Rae was the lead English-language play-by-play voice on UEFA Champions League telecasts for the series’ 15 years (1994-95/2008-09) on ESPN in the U.S., and he handled play-by-play for ESPN’s critically-acclaimed coverage of the European Championships (Euro 2008) two years ago. Rae has served as a host of ESPN Soccernet Press Pass since 2003. The native of Aberdeen, Scotland, has travelled weekly to Europe to call Scottish Premier League matches for ESPN UK since August 2009. Rae worked his first FIFA World Cup for the Scottish BBC in 1990.
The preliminary announcements on the analyst front is not looking as good, though. No official announcements have been made, but it appears as though Andy Gray will not be back and while JP Dellacamera will work for ESPN Radio, John Harkes will be returning to the TV booth as an analyst and Efan Ekoku will also work for ESPN as an analyst this year (credit for that information goes to Mookie and Stupid Sideline Reporters.

The World Cup is dawning on us very rapidly. It certainly looks like it will be good times all the way around and ESPN really is stepping up their game in a massive way this year, bringing in Tyler and Darke, in addition to Rae and Healey. You know you've got a good group of play-by-play announcers when the weakest of the four is Adrian Healey.

So now that we've got all British announcers working the games, the USA is going to win the whole thing, right?

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