Led by Ian Darke, a team of top-tier international soccer television voices – Jon Champion, Adrian Healey, Daniel Mann, Fernando Palomo and Derek Rae – will serve as match commentators for ESPN’s English-language presentation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in the United States this summer. In all, ESPN will employ six play-by-play commentators for the 64 matches (June 12 – July 13), two more than it utilized for South Africa 2010.
Darke, who was named ESPN’s lead play-by-play commentator in January, has earned acclaim as the premier English-language voice for marquee soccer telecasts in the United States. He will call the opener, final and all U.S. National Team matches, among others.
Among the additions, Champion has 20 years of broadcast experience in the United Kingdom with BBC, ITV and ESPN UK. He will make his debut calling the World Cup for a U.S. audience in Brazil. Mann, who voiced FIFA’s 3D World Cup telecasts carried by ESPN 3D four years ago, returns to call the quadrennial event exclusively for ESPN.
The popular Healey and Rae have worked past FIFA World Cup tournaments for ESPN, among other major tournaments. Palomo, who has become a very familiar voice calling matches in both English and Spanish for ESPN, will make his World Cup debut in Brazil.
“The commentator team we have assembled for the 2014 FIFA World Cup has the strong potential to be even better than the celebrated team of 2010,” said Jed Drake, ESPN’s executive producer, 2014 FIFA World Cup. “Individually and collectively, they rank among the top commentator teams on any event we have ever televised.”
Champion is one of the United Kingdom’s most respected football announcers. He is heard in the UK and around the world on a weekly basis commentating on the top matches in English football including the Premier League, a league he has worked on since its inception.
Darke joined ESPN in August 2010 after his critically acclaimed work on the network’s award-winning presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The past four years, he has voiced some of the seminal moments in televised soccer in the United States.
Healey is the lead voice for MLS on ESPN. The 2014 World Cup will be his seventh major international tournament for ESPN. He previously called the World Cup in 2006 and 2010, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007 and 2011, and UEFA European Football Championship in 2008 and 2012.
Mann was the lead voice for 3D telecasts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. A seasoned match commentator, Mann currently works for UK-based Sky Sports, commentating on matches in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and World Cup qualifiers.
Palomo is the play-by-play voice for the Mexican National Team matches on ESPN and host of Fuera de Juego, ESPN Deportes and ESPN International’s highest-rated soccer program since 2006. He is also a former anchor of SportsCenter on ESPN Deportes.
Rae, a former British Sports Broadcaster of the Year, is best-known to U.S. viewers as the voice of the UEFA Champions League on ESPN from 2003-09. He has also provided play-by-play commentary for ESPN’s coverage of the UEFA European Football Championship in 2008 and 2012, in addition to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
ESPN’s broadcast assignments for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil – including the match analyst pairings – will be announced later this spring.
ESPN Inc.’s 2014 FIFA World Cup in the United States
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be ESPN’s eighth World Cup and most comprehensive presentation to date. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to air all 64 matches live and in high definition (June 12 – July 13). All ESPN and ESPN2 games will be available on WatchESPN, while ABC matches will be available on WATCH ABC. ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network available in more than 85 million homes, will present matches live in multiple languages (other than English and Spanish).
ESPN’s presentation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will include comprehensive news and information coverage of the month-long soccer showcase with renowned journalists reporting on the tournament and the host country of Brazil. Additional English-language coverage of the quadrennial event will total more than 90 hours of original programming and will include SportsCenter at the World Cup, a nightly World Cup Tonight program, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, a 30-minute pre-match show, halftime and post-match segments, as well as a World Cup-branded ESPN Films 30 for 30: Soccer Stories series, E:60 shows, and access-driven long-form storytelling features.
ESPN garnered more than 40 industry awards, including three Sports Emmys, for its presentation of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – more accolades than any single event in the company’s history.
ESPN and Past FIFA World Cup Tournaments (Men’s):
South Africa 2010 – All 64 matches live and in high definition. All studio programming originated from South Africa
Germany ’06 – All 64 matches live and in high definition
Korea/Japan ’02 – 58 ESPN and ESPN2 matches live (six tape-delayed broadcasts on ABC)
France ’98 – ESPN 27, ESPN2 23 and ABC Sports 14 (all 64 matches live)
USA ’94 – ESPN, 41, and ABC, 11 (all 52 matches)
Mexico ’86 – ESPN, 15 matches (U.S. cable television rights)
Spain ’82 – ESPN, 7 matches
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