Opinion: JP Dellacamera’s Loyalty To ESPN Was Never Returned

The moment has finally come. After so many years of loyalty to ESPN, J.P. Dellacamera has been shown the door after the World Wide Leader in Sports refused to pick up his option and decided to go a different route. While J.P. was the voice of soccer for ESPN, he announced many matches in the UEFA Champions League and US Women’s national team games, before finally getting the nod to call MLS games and US Men’s national team games. He was the voice of MLS and the USA, a real professional who showed his knowledge of the game both at home and abroad.

Unfortunately he wasn’t respected enough by the bigwigs of ESPN. No matter how many times J.P. showed so much loyalty to the network, they never really gave him the respect he truly deserved. Always being considered second fiddle during World Cup telecasts as the second pairing instead of the main one. When last year’s World Cup arrived you thought it couldn’t get any worse for Dellacamera, but it did when it was announced that he would be demoted to ESPN Radio’s coverage. So finally when push came to shove ESPN did not pick up the final option in the contract and let him go.

Fox Soccer Channel who re-upped MLS coverage for this year did the smart thing and signed Dellacamera who will be doing Friday night telecasts while still calling Philadelphia Union games on local television on Saturdays and possibly USA National Team games and the US Open Cup Final. If FSC wants to continue this partnership with Dellacamera and executes a multi-year contract extension with MLS to broadcast their games, I think FSC should do the right thing and make both deals happen.

So right now the next man in line to replace Dellacamera at ESPN to call MLS and US National team games is English born announcer Adrian Healey. Now before we get a bit off track here, let me say that I like Healey. I’ve met him in person; he calls a good match and has respect for MLS as he was once the announcer for New England Revolution. He will be a good fit for the games on the channel and I wish him all the best. Ian Darke is another Englishman that is one of my favorite announcers and if you remember the three World Cup matches for the USA, he actually catered to the audience of the “AMERICAN” network with some of those fantastic calls against Slovenia, Algeria and Ghana. But the finger of blame is being pointed at the bigwigs of ESPN.

Clearly they are listening to and becoming Euro snobs. Not every Englishman that is in the business of calling matches makes the game perfect. If ESPN has a problem with Americans calling a match, then they should stop broadcasting MLS matches and allow Versus a chance since they showed interest to make MLS the type of league it can be. It just gets so frustrating that the stupid negative is about how the game is being announced and none of these so called experts wants to come in and teach our Americans how to do it the right way.

You can point to me the failures and I will agree that a baseball announcer and a basketball announcer can’t call the game at all. I can name you a few that have been deserving. At least you had a man like Jack Edwards, while he was over the top at times, who wasn’t that bad at all. And the two men I would’ve thought ESPN would bring back are either Phil Schoen or Glenn Davis. Maybe Max Bretos deserves another shot by elevating him from ESPN News to calling MLS matches again? Sadly ESPN has failed the real fans of American soccer and failed to show their loyalty to J.P. Dellacamera who has deserved better.

50 thoughts on “Opinion: JP Dellacamera’s Loyalty To ESPN Was Never Returned”

    1. Christopher “that free header from 3 yards out was a world class goal. WORLD CLASS!!” Sullivan is possibly the worst announcer doing national broadcasts in any sport. Saying Latin players’ names is like Viagra to him.

    2. I loved the Dellacamera/Messing Metrostar broadcasts, and JP’s great narrations of many international games. Not having JP as the lead announcer for the World Cup was a slap in the face to American Soccer, and a concession to British snobbery (of course, I loved Seamus Malin and Tommie Smyth). I will become a Philadelphia Union fan now that I’ve learned JP is doing the broadcasts.

  1. “failed the real fans of American soccer”

    I can see that you have learned well that the most important skill for writers on this site is absurd hyperbole. JP’s a hell of an announcer, but you don’t determine who real fans are and ESPN didn’t “fail” anyone except JP. They made a decision. Just because I might not like it does not mean they “failed” me.

    1. I think Daniel’s opinion expressed in that short quote is actually pretty accurate. I don’t want this to sound too nationalist, but I think supporting quality domestic announcers helps American soccer. ESPN relegating JP to radio, while picking up foreign announcers for the World Cup, seems to be a slap in the face to American soccer. In other words, just like our filthy national team and filthy league, our home-grown announcers aren’t good enough to warrant allowing them to mess up such vital games as the World Cup, at least coverage to which anyone listens.

      No, it’s one of those things where a quality announcer has been crapped on, and hopefully he brings FSC to new heights. Maybe if ESPN gave 2 cents of promotion to anything other than themselves, a sport like MLS could flourish on the Worldwide Leader in Narcissism.

      1. Oh come on, Earl. Talk about hyperbolic!

        As a 41-year-old American that has followed the US team since the early 1980s, I can assure you that I agree with Rabble Rouser above. I don’t understand how people make the jump to ESPN’s treatment of JP being a slap in the face of American soccer. I like JP, but I could not care less whether the announcers are American, English, or whatever. I just want them to be good. ESPN’s loss is FSC’s gain, but I can’t share Daniel’s interpretation here.

        The whole “Euro snob” thing is getting old really quick.

        1. im getting pretty sick of this “euro-snob” classification too.

          No they don’t represent american soccer fans, i dont thinking firing JP was a slap in the face of any american fans. i honestly believe 1/2 the commentators on MLS are complete shit anyway. So perhaps giving JP to FSC where they have more MLS matches might be the best in the long run anyway.

          I do agree on Versus though, although I think its FSC that needs to drop MLS. I freaking hate that network. The fact HD is not offered on most cable providers proves how little push they have anyway.

  2. Daniel F.,

    I was with you until the last several paragraphs and than you started attacking ESPN for being Euro Snobs and listening to them. Please keep your xenophobic comments to yourself.

  3. Really don’t like Ian Darke’s commentary at all, although I didn’t hear him at the World Cup. I’m curious to see what Healey will bring.

  4. I am not a big JP fan, but it was rediculous bringing in Ian. He is a joke.

    I was watching the game on ESPN that got the guy on my old FIFA game fired. As I was watching, I was thinking, he should be fired for this commentating.

    After she makes a tough call, she gets it right and it was a VERY tough call, but he starts in with comments like, “well did she get THAT one right” and they show her on TV for 5 minutes later and he is still saying stuff like a lot of pressure being a woman, she didn’t make a mistake THIS time, etc on and on.

    He should have been fired and still should be fired. He is not very good in the first place and then we have to put up with that cr@p.

    But no ESPN will pick him over someone that is better and not an idiot for the next World Cup. Guarenteed.

    1. The last place Andy Gray will go is a network famous for sexual harassments.

      Ian Darke is not the new lead voice of MLS. He’s doing mostly the EPL and the odd USMNT and MLS game.

      This is a pointless argument because I don’t think you like anything British other than Arlo White, who of course is associated with Seattle.

      1. Did you see the game, SSReporters ?
        He deserved to be fired, regardless of my “hatred” for Britain.
        One of my best friends is British, btw.

        But really it is a case of are we going to do it with Americans or go elsewhere. The NASL chose to go with foreigners in almost every area even on the field. It was the wrong way to go. I thought it at the time and I still think it.

        I actually wanted Colabra to keep the job, and not bring in White, so not sure what you are talking about there.
        White does a great job, so I am not against him, but having a local hero, who is the best sport announcer ever, learn soccer…well there are worse ways to go.

        ESPN shows that for sure.

  5. I like JP but listing but I really believe that Ian Darke and Adrian Healey have enhance the game of soccer here in America over the last couple of years with their commentary on the English Premier and the La Liga League. I think this really could help the MLS in the longer term. I also want to say that while JP was good for ESPN soccer I don’t like some of the whining by the writer who thought that he didn’t get is just do on the network like he should have during the World Cup, I think it a little petty.

  6. I dislike Eurosnobs as much of the next guy (I appreciate both foreign and domestic soccer) but I don’t think it matters what nationality the commentators are. FSC has some pretty horrendous and biased commentators. I honestly don’t remember hearing any JP commentary (I tend to tune the announcers out) but hopefully he can bring some much-needed quality to the network.

  7. Look JP should be respected and deserves better from espn from all those years he announced soccer, hes announced a lot of historic games, now in my opinion I thought JP was kind of boring when he announced games there was not much excitement listening to him announce. Soccer is exciting and if someone can’t show that when announcing the game, then that announcer kills the excitement in the viewer. in the other hand, I do think is kind of silly getting a British announcer instead of an American, we need to invest in American announcers and make them grow just like we do with our players in mls, give them a chance

  8. I remember listening to JP as far back as ’95 when he did Champions League matches… it was when I started getting into the sport and it was a true backwater on the American media landscape. Unfortunately, I think the soccer audience has evolved and JP hasn’t. He’s still too reliant on making sure he reads off ever statistic on the info sheet that is prepared for him, whether it fits into the flow or not. He also gets way too distracted on anecdotes and toeing the MLS/USSF party line.

    Unfortunately, there are far too few good American play by play announcers. Schoen tries way too hard to be profound. Brian Dunseth talks like he gets paid by the word. Bretos is ok when he calms down.

    Glenn Davis is very good but he’ll never been the main announcer precisely because he’s not a party line kind of guy and is unafraid to call out the powers that be.

  9. I hope it’s not Bretos. He is a terrible announcer, in my opinion. Whenever he called a game for FSC, the mute button was my friend.

  10. “If ESPN has a problem with Americans calling a match, then they should stop broadcasting MLS matches and allow Versus a chance since they showed interest to make MLS the type of league it can be.”

    Yes, so soccer could then share a platform with T.Ocho and hunting and fishing shows. Not that the airing of poker is any better on ESPN. What about games on FX? TNT? Even TruTV has more available than FSC. TNT did air World Cup matches in 1990. Maybe MLS can work out something with them in case ESPN drops them (SUM).

  11. I love JP as a commentator. He was very good and knew the game well. ESPN to me does feel like they are listing too much to the eurosnob fans. I think Adrian and Ian are both very good but it just feels right having an American call US national team games and a Brit feels so wrong. JP was great for MLS but it is what it is and im happy that FSC will finally have a great play-by-play guy. But no one can convience me otherwise that a Brit calling US games is ok because its garbage.

  12. JP congrats to him. I’m a big beleiver in having American broadcasters for the USMNT and in MLS. There is no clear right way how to broadcast a soccer. So what if we americans don’t say nil or take long pause during running PBP like the usual European crap I see and hear. That stuff puts you to sleep. !mericans have our own style. ESPN know they are dead wrong for what they did for the world cup announcer wise, Yes it was a slap in the face to the progress of soccer not only in the US and Canada. Well JP will be a plus for FSC but MLS needs to do better putting their name out to mainstream media

  13. I don’t understand your level of incredulity towards ESPN. This is media – guys get hired and fired all the time.

    Are you proud of the 0.2 rating that MLS on ESPN has been stuck on for years?

    I’m not saying it’s JP’s fault by any means …… but we’re not exactly letting Al Michaels out the door here.

    ESPN just ended a 20 something year partnership for their SUnday night baseball booth so that they could get younger guys in …… this stuff happens.

    I just don’t understand how JP was so hard done by? If he was this irreplaceable talent he would’ve been moved from MLS into NBA or football commentary.

  14. Can we get off this “Versus” kick already? There has been no proof that Versus and MLS were within a million miles of a deal of any kind and yet people still talk on here almost daily about how FSC or ESPN should get out of Versus’s way of treating MLS right.

    I love JP. But ESPN, as long as they pay to show MLS, has the right to have whomever they wish be the announcer. Healey has always impressed me, so no prob whatsoever there for me.

    FSC has a very limited budget. We should be thanking them hourly for giving MLS 30 minutes before and after a game AND for simply broadcasting our league so a national audience can see it.

    We have no clue what Versus would have done, because they didn’t step up to the plate and PAY MLS to show games. So quit bitching about every little thing the two networks that do pay do with the announcers.

    1. And I may add that, the way things are going right now, the media landscape is likely to be radically different five years from now. Not only is Versus slowly becoming a player in the sports business but also the newly-rebranded CBS Sports Network (formerly CBS College Sports), GolTV, DirectTV, as well as current players like Turner Sports. Who knows but we could probably be allowed to watch Sky Sports, TSN, RDS or ESPN UK states side.

      Also, realize that ESPN 2 is almost at the same number of households as ESPN 1. I’d be OK with MLS making a permanent deal to show matches only at The Deuce at this point. Heck, why not allow the new NASL into the SUM venture and offer a package of MLS games along with NASL games involving the Strikers, Rowdies, Railhawks, etc. to either FSC or ESPN2?

      Still, nothing substantial could be done until we know who will air the US Nats after 2014. They’re probably the only soccer property (since the link-up with SUM) that TV companies want to have. MLS has to stand on their own two feet in terms of TV and marketing power at some point but that time has yet to come.

      1. As of right now from the impression of the new FSC deal and bad ratings on booth FSC and espn, unless MLS is hiding something, I don’t see a lot of interest from any other network. To pursue MLS, as for VS I haven’t heard nothing concrete either. So again unless MLS got something else in place I don’t see where the league has any leverage, to secure a longterm deal.

        1. OK. Maybe not a major network (although ESPN2 would still qualify as “major”) but I can’t dismiss the possibility that some of these would-be sports networks would be tempted to put some MLS on, at least as filler. All the so-called big boys are basically spoken so what’s left is really stuff like MMA (which is big and growing), pro soccer, cycling, women’s sports and maybe even rugby.

          A new time buy-in is another possibility.

          1. That’s why I believe MLS is really dropping the ball, its how they are marketing or at least lack there of. Even with the sports network changes, MLS still has a lot to prove. Comissioner Garber has to do a better Job marketing nationally. Outside of ESPN, there really isn’t a lot of MLS Commercials or even just from the league alone. Locally a few markets are making a decent effort ala seattle. But still that can’t carry the stick for the entire league. …. the league should not only try to persue a longer term deal with FSC for a small amount and also persue a similar one for VS. And also try to sell a turner deal. The FSC deal should be better but still FSC doesn’t cover a lot of house holds. The USSF should also sell the Open cup final as a seperate deal to a higher profile channel.

  15. I get the impression that Dick’s Sporting Goods promotes MLS better than MLS itself. Hahaha!

    Yeah, now that truTV is getting into the sports biz with the NCAA, let’s say by 2013 MLS should inquire them about being partners in a new joint venture. I’d keep FSC as MLS provides needed summer programming for them (unless FSC decides that the Brazilian league is a better deal). Then it would be a question of whether VS will jump on an opportunity if Disney decides to do business elsewhere.

    The wild card is John Skipper. He’s about the main reason why soccer even has time made available on the ESPN platforms (must be around the time they fell in love with Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy LOL). If/when he goes the next guy may not so fond of the sport. It’ll all come to a head by around 2013. Only this time there are options out there if the league brass plans well ahead of time.

    And let’s not forget good ‘ol Univision and the hefty rights fees for Copa Mundial, although they’ve relegated the local product to Galavision and Telefutura.

    I have two scenarios: the dream scenario and the realistic scenario

    Dream – Twelve years with ESPN2 and FX; over $200 million total. Includes video and broadband rights, US Nats, international matches, FMF WCQ’s in English including the El Clasico de Azteca; starts in 2015.
    Secondary rights (and US Open Cup matches) to FSC as part of the deal to bring FX on board, with Spanish TV rights to Fox Deportes as an appetizer.
    Separate deal with Univision for World Cup rights in Spanish in exchange for airing CCL, drop MLS as they don’t fit the mission of Univision.

    Realistic – Eight years; US Nats split again between ESPN2 and FSC; MLS primary package could go to either ESPN2, VS or truTV; secondary to FSC again (hopefully they take US Open Cup for a low price); money not much more than the last deal; Univision allowed to put US Nats games on Galavision, as well as selected MLS matches.

    Let’s hope the ratings for last night’s game is much better than last year. *Fingers crossed*

    1. Tru tv is turner, I believe. And I thin tru tv is just only doing the NCAAs. Similar to wwhat NBC did in the olympics utilizing their underserved sister stations to maximize on a big event

      1. Video streaming is also going to be even more important as we go on. I think for sports that get no respect, like soccer, it’s even a necessity. MLS is a little late hopping on that bandwagon. They should be using the new technologies to bypass the cultural bias against the sport itself.

        Get Netflix involved in the deal. Superserve the fans.

  16. i think max bretos should get a shot with espn he id a good job calling the union-manchester united game last summer plus i havent heard his catchy YEAAAAAAAAAA call in a while

  17. If you want to sell soccer to american’s you should do it with American announcer. JP Dellacamera paid his dues for many years and deserved a better fate then ESPN gave him. HIs call when the USA women defeated China for the World Cup is a classic call

  18. Dellacamera leaves ESPN because he is mediocre, and ESPN can do better. From Fox Soccer’s point of view, he is an upgrade to the earnest, talentless announcers they have had in the play-by-play positions, but that doesn’t mean he’s actually GOOD. He’s merely better than “bad.”

  19. I really like J P Dellacamera. Espns loss is FSC and ABC 6 Philadelphias gain. On Friday night J P was in Seattle and on Saturday afternoon (18 hours later) Mr. Dellacamera was broadcasting at Philadelphias home ground PPL Park. I like his style and chemistry.

  20. I personally think JP Dellecamera Is the worst announcer in all of sports. I make it a point to watch the MLS and USMNT games on Mute. I hate the guy..he looks like he has never played a sport in his life and a gust of wind would knock his pencil neck over..Thank you ESPN For getting rid of this bum…i truly hate you JP Dellecamera and i dont care what anyone else thinks about the matter.

  21. I like J P Dellacamera, ESPN are a bunch of low life corporate scum. I follow him on ABC6 Philadelphia and on the FOX SOCCE CHANNEL. What really peeved me was during the world cup last year when they used his voice for ESPN radio. J P you are an inspiration, ESPNS loss is FSC’s win win situation. Years ago I use to follow J P ‘s commentary of the old Metrostars on MSG, he did a first class job then and still continues to this day.

  22. I am so annoyed about JP Dellacamera doing the Gold Cup games that I went looking for somewhere to complain. Then I find this thread where people actually LIKE him? You’ve got to be kidding? This guy is simply awful. Listen to how many times he says, “INTO THE BOX” during a game. Or how about, “over the TOP” or any other number of inane recounts of what I am watching. He would be perfect for radio. Yes, he has facts. Yes, he knows the American players, but NO, his play by play is NOT GOOD. And that’s the truth. And I’m done typing INTO THE BOX.

    1. ENOUGH ALREADY, leave JP alone he is a great commentator, take your pathetic rant and shuff it up your behing, dumba$$ uneducated idiot………….. You are the one that is over the top, yea, think outside the box.

  23. I like FSC, maybe you don’t? Thats not my problem, thanks for your input though. DC United is on tomorrow night, I love Soccer night in America. FSC has got it right, see you tomorrow night my fellow FSC viewers……………………….

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