ESPN Responds to Criticism


Tokyo Toffeeman, an EPL Talk reader from Japan, sent me this very interesting link about ESPN’s response to the criticism it has been receiving regarding its coverage of the World Cup.

Read the piece here.

Most newspapers typically have ombudsmen who are supposed to answer complaints and comments from readers (or, in this case, viewers). They’re supposed to be objective, but in this particular example, it’s obvious that George Solomon knows little about the game.

Sure, he makes some good points, but Solomon’s belief that “the quality of the five announcing teams, led by Dave O’Brien and Marcelo Balboa, has been solid” is completely far from the truth. Either he hasn’t been watching the matches, or he knows nothing about soccer. Note that I do believe the commentating has improved after its atrocious beginning, but it’s still below par for the world’s greatest sporting tournament.

Meanwhile, Scanlan’s retort that BBC broadcasters don’t know the players as well as ESPN commentators do is completely outrageous.

If you have comments or questions regarding ESPN’s coverage of events such as the World Cup, you can send them to ESPN here.

8 thoughts on “ESPN Responds to Criticism”

  1. I thought it was prety funny when Balboa said he was surprised Sven didn’t play Stevie Gerrard & Frank Lampard from the start in the game against Sweden because “they play two different positions; Gerrard is an attacking midfielder and Lampard is more of a defensive midfielder.” Um…yeah…did you watch the previous two games? Have you EVER watched England play? Gerrard’s ALWAYS defending while Lampard goes forward.
    Yea for Univision.

  2. Here’s what I wrote

    Your defence of ESPNs coverage is a joke. The commentary, especially O’Brien’s, is RUBBISH. He knows nothing about the players, rarely mentions who’s on the ball, consistently tells us which team is attacking (We know who’s playing!) and has NO insight. When Sweden had a man sent off early he was surprised that they made a first half substitution–Had he never heard of a formation change? The man is a 3rd class footballing moron.

    Neither does Balboa. The only decent team is the one that has Tommy Smtih and the English guy and they havent had many games, and they’re not that good!

    Even worse is the studio coverage. The US invented the Madden video Chalkboard but every game on the BBC and ITV is broken down and analyzed using those techniques. Forget that ESPN doesnt even show the important highlights, and has stupid “human interest” shows at half time. And what Julie Foudy knows about football can be written on a very small postcard.

    I learn more watching the Spanish channel and I can’t speak Spanish.

    I cannot fathom why ABC/ESPN doesnt just licence in the BBC/ITV commentary AND the half time coverage OR just hire some of the SKY broadcasters who are not working the World Cup but know the game and the European leagues.

    In the UK we did not have Brits commenting on American football. And we appreciated the expertise. If football is to grow here, the fans need to be educated and they learn nothing from the the ESPN commentators.

  3. Matthew,
    By “human interest,” do you mean commercials? =) They say “stay tuned for the half time analysis,” which is all of 2 minutes long at most, and the rest is commercials.

  4. I stopped reading the moment I read the Joe Morgan comparison.

    For reference, please see

    Honestly, a response like the one this guy gives just gets me angry about the coverage all over again. I would have much rather seen him say “well, we know we’ve made mistakes, but we’re still learning. Please bear with us….” something something. Or he should have said nothing at all.

    Instead, this is just typical ESPN fluff from the network that loves to love itself. For reference, please see the ESPYs, the 25th anniversary special celebrating Sportscenter, The one millionth (sic) episode of sportscenter that caused about 2 months of pre-episode hype, the “farewell to Dan Patrick” sportscenter one-month tribute so he could go from the 11pm sportscenter to the 6pm sportscenter (yes, that’s what they call a farewell), and frankly, everything else that airs on the network ever. Ever.

  5. TSN/Sportsnet coverage in Canada had technical problems a couple times last week with the BBC feed and switched temporarily to ESPN.

    Most painful 5 minutes of my life. I truly pity anyone that has to endure that drivel.

  6. For everyone who whines about ESPN’s coverage and announcers you should have been here at the beginning of the 90’s when soccer was nowhere to be found on TV. Once in a blue moon a US national team game was on, interrupted by ads. How quickly people forget. As a soccer fan I’m in heaven now with FSC, GOL TV and full coverage of the WC. Yeah, some announcers annoy me, but to tell the truth I’m usually so into the game that only about 20% of the babbling registers with me.

    Also, I think JP and Harkes have been good. Harkes offers a lot of good insight and has a good sense of humor. Tommy Smyth whom I normally can’t stand because he misses half of everything and won’t admit to it has been actually quite hillarious. Wynalda whom everyone seems to hate for some reason has been right on in his blistering analysis. Chanaglia actually sucks. He just sits there with a pompous look on his face offering trivialties about how great Italy is. That’s about it. I don’t know why he’s even there and why everyone raves about him. He was a good player, but he’s not much of an objective analyst.

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