Why Is ESPN2 Experiencing Technical Difficulties With EPL Games?


Georgie Bingham doesn’t have the easiest job on television, that’s for sure. From that early morning Saturday kickoff in August when ESPN kicked off its coverage of the Premier League to the last match shown between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur, Georgie has experienced the highs and lows of being the presenter of the Premier League coverage on ESPN2.

The highs have been turning the coverage over to the beautiful HD broadcast and the sights and sounds of the build-up in the tunnel before the game kicks off — something which we continue to miss out for games covered by Fox Soccer Channel who run TV commercials during that part of the broadcast. Other highs include the pre-match, half-time and post-match analysis from Bingham, Robbie Mustoe and Tommy Smyth.

The lows have been the technical difficulties.

For the most part, viewers have been more than patient taking into account the growing pains and ESPN being a brand new network showing Premier League games on US television. The HD broadcasts allow us to be more patient than usual because we know that the bounty waiting for us (i.e. HD quality broadcasts) is worth it.

The technical difficulties thus far have not been catastrophic by any means. It’s usually the first 30 seconds or so of the match where problems are encountered. The worst was last weekend’s Bolton against Tottenham match where it took a few minutes at the beginning of the match to fix the issues.

Thankfully, Bingham does a decent job of ad libbing and chatting about the tactics and previous form of the clubs to fill up the time until the game resumes.

I was curious why ESPN has been encountering these technical issues while Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports have not. According to ESPN, “the technical difficulties we have originate from our interest in presenting the Barclays Premier League matches in HD (high definition) to U.S. fans.  We are working very closely with our providers in England to resolve the technical glitches.”

The issues experienced by ESPN should be a warning to Fox Soccer Channel who will be launching their HD coverage of the Premier League in January. Let’s hope they can learn from ESPN’s experiences so they can avoid the same issues.


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