ESPN executive Jed Drake calls this World Cup “the most complex production we’ve ever attempted at this company.”
Several elements of the coverage assuredly will please viewers. Among them:
Of the tournament’s 64 matches, 43 will be on weekday afternoons.Dave O’Brien Gus Johnson
O’Brien and Johnson drew considerable criticism from long-time soccer fans.
So it’s no surprise that popular British announcer Ian Darke will return for his second World Cup with ESPN.
Former U.S. national team player Taylor Twellman will join him on the U.S. matches, though Darke is scheduled to work with other analysts, too.
“In ’06, our sense was that we were going to present this to an American audience with Americans,” ESPN president John Skipper said at a news conference in April. “We decided in ’10 just to do the best job we could, hire the most experienced talent we could. We found a real gem, in Ian Darke, and a little magic struck when Landon Donovan scored the goal [against Algeria], and there was Ian.
“So for him to become the signature voice just made sense for us. I don’t think we started with the idea that we had to have a British voice — although it does sound great on soccer, right? The Brazilians play the best, but I think the Brits call the game the best, without a doubt. We were gratified that fans [and] media — instead of getting criticism, we got plaudits. Plus, they just did a great job. They do understand how to hang back from the game, and Ian understands the drama.”
Drake said during the 2010 World Cup, “the best conversation happened every night back at the Hyatt hotel when we had the eighth and ninth [floors’] lounge area. Everybody would walk in: Martin [ Tyler], Ian [Darke], Macca [ Steve McMannaman], Ruud [ Gullit], whomever. This conversation ensued, just normally and organically, and it was fabulous.”
Drake decided that conversation should be televised.
“What will happen towards the end of World Cup Tonight is that at some point the producers — myself included — will just throw the flag, and we’re going to say, ‘We’re moving over to the set. Take off the ties, let’s go,” Drake said.
Hipgrave, who has worked at London-based BT Sports, “is a proven soccer host — smart, engaging and dynamic,” Drake said.Jon Champion Adrian Healey Daniel Mann Fernando Palomo Derek Rae
Univision and Univision Deportes Network will simulcast 56 matches live in Spanish, including the semifinals and championship.
Eight matches from group stage play will air, in Spanish, on UniMas and Galavision.Juan Carlos Rodriguez
“We met with U.S. Soccer, and we came to an agreement that it was going to happen,” he said. “They know we are rights-holders for them. They treat us like real partners, and we are going to do a very good job covering them.
“We live in the States [and] we have to be responsible. This is not Mexican television. We are in the U.S., and we want to make television for Americans, regardless of [your] origin.”Fernando Fiore Pablo Ramírez Jorge Pérez-Navarro Jesús “El Profe” Bracamontes
Univision also hired former U.S. national team defender Marcelo Balboa, former Honduras national forward Carlos Pavón and former Italian national team midfielder Mauro Camoranesi.