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Ian Darke to Make EPL Debut for ESPN in Man City v Chelsea Game

ian darke Ian Darke to Make EPL Debut for ESPN in Man City v Chelsea GameTop British sportscaster Ian Darke, one of the lead commentators during ESPN’s critically acclaimed coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will join the ESPN network as its lead soccer voice in the United States, it was announced today by Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer, ESPN Event Production.

Darke will be the primary play-by-play voice on ESPN’s U.S. networks for Barclays Premier League matches, the U.S. National Teams (Men’s and Women’s), marquee Major League Soccer events, 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He joins ESPN after commentating on Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches for the past 18 years. Darke was widely praised for his work on ESPN during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, especially for his commentating on the U.S. Men’s National Team matches vs. Slovenia, Algeria and Ghana.

“Having Ian Darke as our year-round signature voice for soccer programming reaffirms ESPN’s commitment to elevate our overall coverage of the sport in the U.S.,” said Drake. “Ian’s experience, authenticity and passion for the sport, which were evident throughout the World Cup, will resonate with our viewers, who have come to expect top-quality soccer commentary from ESPN.”

Darke added: “I am delighted and excited to be joining such a polished and talented team as ESPN. It was wonderful to be calling the USA’s dramatic World Cup campaign for American audiences – and I am flattered to be asked back on a permanent basis.”

Darke’s debut as ESPN’s signature voice for soccer will be Saturday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 a.m. ET, when he’ll provide play-by-play commentary for Manchester City vs. Chelsea, live from the City of Manchester Stadium. In his new role, Darke will be in the booth live from Barclays Premier League match sites each week for ESPN’s U.S. audience – a first for the network. His co-commentators (analysts) for each ESPN soccer programming series will be announced at a later date.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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18 Responses to Ian Darke to Make EPL Debut for ESPN in Man City v Chelsea Game

  1. Matt T. says:

    Nothing against Darke, but what was wrong with the audio feed they were using?

    • David Griffith says:

      I’m sure one reason is that they will be able to promo the upcoming shows on the ESPN family of networks on air, be they soccer or other sports…

  2. Nate S says:

    Does this mean no more John Harkes for usmnt games?

  3. erik says:

    GO GO USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. SantaClaus says:

    This will be good news only if John Harkes is not paired with Ian Darke. Otherwise, I’ll be using my mute button just as I did during the World Cup.

  5. SSReporters says:

    It should be Steve McManaman on tomorrow’s game. Not entirely sure.

  6. Amy Wynalda says:

    Ditto on NO Harkes! UGH!!! He’s terrible!!! Please ESPN we beg you not to ruin Mr. Darke’s exceptional commentary with the insufferable know-nothing Harkes!

  7. Hank Sperka says:

    Can someone clarify …

    So ID is now the official voice of the matches shown on ESPN in the USA, so does this mean that he will also serve the same role for the SkySports broadcast shown in UK? In other words, he is merely the “dedicated” Sky lead PBP for the matches picked up in the USA….

    Hank

    • Jeff H says:

      No, he is done with Sky Sports. His job from here on out is working with ESPN USA.

      • Big Willie says:

        He is only fit for American tv because the European fans were not ordering Sky games when they knew he was commentating and espn were losing the almighty dollar.We thought espn were getting to know Soccer when they got rid of the idiot Tommy Smythe after millions of complaints (what an insult to the game he was) then hired Darke who can’t shut up and keeps voicing scores for games being played at the same time when people are recording them and also espn why do you show other scores at the bottom of the screen? that’s just ignorant.
        It is so obvious that Macca can’t stand him especially when he calls him Macca.

  8. Mitch A. says:

    Another thumbs down if John Harkes will be paired with Darke. If it is I’ll turn the sound down on the TV and try one of the audio commentaries from the net. I hope it won’t be Harkes for the EPL games since he knows next to nothing about the league. Here’s hoping ESPN uses some common sense and pairs Darke with someone familiar with the EPL.

  9. JW says:

    There’s no way they’re sending Harkes overseas. Look For “Macca” or someone else based there for the EPL games.
    I’m sure you will have to put up with Harkes for the US-based stuff.

  10. Simon says:

    I love this move by espn. for espn to do this it says that they are going to go after more football maybe they mite try and get the cl back. it also means they dont rate Jp. hey if Ian Darke is calling the Women’s games i mite Watch it.

  11. Brian says:

    This will make beating the tar out of City that much better!

    Up the Chels and the Darke!

  12. I LIke to Laugh says:

    Could you imagine if ESPN hired Roy Hudson to be paired with Darke when calling US games? Just imagine the verbal energy coming out of that booth.

    • Casey G. says:

      thats the last thing they need, Hudson is garbage when it comes to being a co-commentator and analyst, all he does it get excited about 15 million things that 9/10 times end up being useless and never gives you great insight on player movement and tactics, he’s HIGHLY OVERRATED and thats the truth.

      Stuart Robson was excellent today, I am very curious to see who they’ll end up getting on a permanent basis to pair with Darke or if they’ll just shuffle it around like the they did with the ESPN UK broadcasts plugging in Joe Royle and a few others when they had Jon Champion doing the match commentary. either way its looking good!!

  13. KazHoshay says:

    Thank you ESPN for Ian Drake, now no more Harkes. ESPN needs to get studio personell who knows the game and knows the lingo, no more basketball lingo. You need not dilute the broadcast to attract viewers, soccer will be the most popular game in the USA in the very near future. Now I can finally “un-mute” the games.

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