It has been a day of introductions here at EPL Talk, so let me be the latest to say hello to all of you. I am honored to be joining the site alongside all the new members, and I would like to thank The Gaffer for the opportunity to write here.
Now to the big news. ESPN announced it’s broadcasting plans for Euro 2008 today. First, like with U2 during World Cup 2006, a single artist has been tapped by the network to provide all the music of the tournament. In this case, it will be the English band Coldplay, who will be releasing a new album on June 12th. So, if you are not a fan, start getting ready now, as you’ll be hearing a lot of them.
Second, and more importantly, is the schedule itself. The blog Awful Announcing have already broken it down by day (with one correction: the Turkey v Czech Republic match on June 15th will be on ESPN Classic, not ESPN2). So, how many matches will each network get? The bulk of them (17 of 31) will be airing on ESPN2, seven will be showing on ESPN, five will be on ESPN Classic, and two matches (a quarterfinal and the final) will be airing on ABC. ESPN also announced that, before the final, ABC will be showing an MLS matchup between the Los Angeles Galaxy and D.C. United at noon eastern. For those of you with HD, 26 of the 31 matches will be available in high definition on either ESPN, ESPN2, or ABC HD; ESPN Classic matches will only be available in standard definition. ESPN 360, the network’s online video service, will show all matches except the two on ABC, and ESPN Deportes will be providing Spanish-language coverage of all matches. Finally, ESPN Classic will show a half-hour highlight program during every evening of the tournament just in case you miss something.
The last announcement is one that should interest historical fans of the game; each weeknight from May 26th to June 5th, ESPN Classic will be showing each of the last nine Euro final matches. From West Germany’s three straight final appearances between 1972 and 1980 to Greece’s shocking victory over the hosting Portugese in 2004, you’ll get to see them all before this year’s tournament.
I’m glad to see the powers at ESPN have shown a willingness to put the final on ABC, but I do have to wonder if the lack of additional matches on that network will hamper it’s viewership. It’s also good to see that most matches will be available in HD. Overall, I would say I’m happy with the schedule announced today. Now all that’s left is for the tournament to begin.