Posts Tagged ‘Martin Tyler’

ESPN Offers The Why On Tyler & Dellacamera

Did ESPN "short circuit" it's World Cup coverage? (If you get this movie reference, you're an old man like us....)

TSG was able to reach out to ESPN today on changes occurring in their soccer coverage (the television broadcast & the web site, Soccernet). We’ll be aggregating some feedback over this week and throwing down a column or two next week as soon as we get some time from ESPN.

TSG also reached out to a few community members to help us with our questions over to S-pen. We’ll tease our follow-up piece with a response offered by ESPN on a question by TSG community member, Dan (of Free Beer Movement fame).

Let it be said first that while TSG will be uncompromising in our review of ESPN’s coverage, that the good folks over at ESPN are always helpful and punctual in replying to our requests. Whether we send them questions that focus on the positive, or the negative, we always get quick, informational, professional responses. Thanks guys at ESPN.

Now this from ESPN on World Cup announcers.

Dan’s question: The main commentators for the 2010 World Cup are going to be British for ESPN.  And while I readily acknowledge that our domestic broadcasting talent is not on par with the like of Martin Tyler.. isn’t ESPN obligated to grow and nurture on-air soccer talent?

ESPN’s response:

» We went for the best English-language commentators in the world for the WC matches (a global event).

» We are approaching our coverage from a global perspective.


» JP Dellacamera, who is arguably the best U.S. play-by-play commentator for soccer, has the lead role on ESPN Radio’s WC coverage, a major initiative for the company that we expect will grow with time (why not put a recognizable face/commentator on that platform to boost its value from the get go).

» If you agree that Tyler is the best and Tyler is the lead commentator for WC on TV, then assigning JP, a lead U.S. voice, to be lead on Radio and call the title match on radio from site (a first for the service/English-language radio in U.S.) makes sense.

As a soccer/sports fan who understands how big the WC is, I think you’ll agree ESPN will be underserving soccer fans if (it) uses the biggest stage of any sporting event to “grow and nurture on-air soccer talent.”  (see feedback from 2006 WC).

Besides, that is not ESPN’s obligation. Our role as business that serves sports fan is to “present the WC in a way that celebrates and acknowledges the event/teams/athletes in a month-long competition that features the world’s best on sport’s biggest stage.”

Feedback from TSG  on ESPN’s response:

First on the response itself, I love that it’s direct. So often TSG asks questions and the response actually waffles or is not clear on what the message is. That’s a positive.

Marvelous Martin...

I generally agree with ESPN’s feedback. Depending on how you feel about Dellacamera, it’s hard not select a Martin Tyler. Tyler is both good and a personality and his inclusion by ESPN legitimizes their coverage in my mind…in essence, they didn’t “just go with what they had.” It shows effort by ESPN. Continually at least ESPN gave their own number one guy the green light to call the title match, even if on radio. What are Dellacamera’s other announcing options if he doesn’t like the situation. Is there a better place to work than ESPN?

From a businessman’s standpoint, I have to “like” ESPN’s response that leads with “that is not ESPN’s obligation” in reference to growing and nurturing talent. ESPN, as someone who went to broadcasting school at Newhouse, is the the top echelon. Broadcasters should strive to reach that pinnacle in their career. They should nurture their careers before arriving.

Thanks Dan for a great question and ESPN for the answer.

Martin Tyler + ESPN + World Cup + USMNT = ???

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As has been reported around the online soccer world, ESPN has secured the services of announcer Martin Tyler (of EPL and of EA Sports FIFA video game series fame) to call the World Cup for the Worldwide Leader. (No official word as to whether he will be joined by Andy Gray.)

Tyler has called every Word Cup since 1974.

Tyler has called every Word Cup since 1974.

Two things about the move that are somewhat interesting when considered in tandem…

  1. Tyler won’t be changing his style to be more “American,” which isn’t that surprising.  Said Tyler, “I think I’ve been acquired for what I am and not what I might become … I think maybe those who have made the decision about me would like to get, if you like, a more global feel to what is a global game.”
  2. ESPN is considering having Tyler assigned to all USMNT games.

The hiring is a boon to purists and die-hards, but it will be interesting to see how it will play to those not well-versed in soccer (or to Tyler, “football”) who will tune into games out of some combination of global spectacle, curiosity and patriotism, among other things. Regardless of what a “Tyler call” adds to the game for those who follow soccer, it will make the game less accessible to those who don’t.

From a “soccer in America” perspective, it would be a risk for ESPN to assign Tyler to all USMNT games as an English voice and “global feel” could be a turn-off to the general American public and could ultimately dampen the boost that soccer gets in America every four years via the World Cup. (This is by no means a certainty, but not out of the realm of possibility either.)

On the other hand, as ESPN has staked its claim to English soccer (over American soccer) they may want to use the World Cup to breed more familiarity with an English / European call of the game in an attempt to enhance the profile and likelihood of success for the WWL’s future broadcasts. For as ESPN has shown, soccer coverage, or lack thereof, is purely a business decision.

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