Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Soccer coverage, like night and day
by Paul Kennedy, June 11th, 2010 2:21AM

TAGS:  television, world cup


[TELEVISION WATCH] There's been a lot to like about ESPN's pre-World Cup coverage.

ESPN2's preview show demonstrated the lengths ESPN has gone to cover the 2010 tournament.

We're used to Bob Ley, going back more than a decade, but top-of-the-line studio hosts Mike Tirico and Chris Fowler didn't miss a beat. And we really liked Wigan manager Roberto Martinez among the experts who ranged from Alexi Lalas and John Harkes all the way to Juergen Klinsmann and Ruud Gullit.

But the most fascinating part of its buildup was its airing of past World Cup games on ESPN Classic that showed just how soccer has come in the United States over the last quarter century.

Soccer America readers who've never heard Paul Gardner on television would have marveled at his work alongside Charlie Jones and Rick Davis during their call of the classic Argentina-England game at the 1986 World Cup (Their young researcher: one Sunil Gulati.)

Gardner was at his best: animated, funny, concise, not afraid to take on such targets as coaches ("Gary Lineker never had a coach") and East German scientists. Sound familiar?

But it was what Davis and Jones had to say that struck a cord.

As if soccer was not taken seriously by the American audience, Davis took pains to point out that "soccer is a contact sport."

We take for granted soccer is broadcast without commercial interruptions, but it wasn't always the case.

At one point, Jones interjected, "We'll be back ..." and sure enough, they broke for a commercial.

ESPN also aired the two U.S. victories at the 2002 World Cup, 3-2 over Portugal in their opener and 2-0 over Mexico in the round of 16.

What stood out on the broadcast with Jack Edwards and Ty Keough was how there was the assumption that part of the audience knew nothing about the game.

During the USA-Portugal broadcast, Edwards felt obliged to point out that "there are no timeouts in soccer."

That was only only eight years ago.

What's amazing about today's ESPN soccer coverage isn't just the resources it's throwing at its investments but its belief that its audience gets it.

  1. Valerie Metzler
    commented on: June 11, 2010 at 10:10 a.m.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
USA-Costa Rica: Klinsmann sends Johnson packing    
The biggest loss in the tenure of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has not triggered any immediate ...
MLS Executive of the Year Manning joins TFC    
Bill Manning, the two-time Major League Soccer Executive of the Year, has been named president of ...
What They're Saying: Bill Manning    
"From an outsider's perspective -- and I remember telling this to the [MLSE] board -- for ...
Atlanta United joins Development Academy     
The youth program of Atlanta United, which begins MLS play in 2017, will join the U.S. ...
Video Pick: SKC's Nemeth scores twice in Euro qualifier    
After scoring MLS's Goal of The Week with a terrific solo strike against Portland, Sporting Kansas ...
U.S. Olympic hopefuls in must-win clash with Canada     
Having squandered a chance to clinch a berth at the 2016 Olympics when it fell, 2-0, ...
Crowd Count: Top 20 U.S. soccer crowds (2015)    
The crowd of 93,723 fans for the USA-Mexico game at the Rose Bowl was the largest ...
NASL: Minnesota joins Cosmos and Ottawa in playoffs    
Minnesota United FC clinched a playoff berth for the second straight year with a 2-1 win ...
TV Report: USA-Mexico averages 5.1 million on Univision    
The USA-Mexico match on Univision averaged 5.1 million viewers, the most on any network for a ...
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"I had a very severe word with Fabian Johnson and I sent him home today. The ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives