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6 Things I Learned About ESPN’s Coverage of the 2011/12 EPL Season

espn2 logo 6 Things I Learned About ESPNs Coverage of the 2011/12 EPL Season

I caught up this week with an ESPN spokesperson to find out what their plans are for the 2011-12 Premier League season. Here are the six important updates I learned:

  1. The Saturday early kickoffs will continue to feature 15 minutes of pre-game review and analysis. So anytime there’s a 7:45am ET kickoff, the pre-game analysis will begin at 7:30am ET. Once the final whistle blows, there’ll also be post match review and analysis, just like last season,
  2. Ian Darke and Steve McManaman will remain as ESPN’s lead commentator team. ESPN will continue to have pre-match coverage with them live from the ground,
  3. Coverage will also feature an on-site reporter, primarily Darrell Currie but there will be some different on-site reporters thrown into the mix over the course of the season,
  4. Premier League telecasts will have a new graphics look. It’ll be consistent with ESPN’s MLS and US soccer presentations,
  5. ESPN will continue to delve into the rich history of all 20 clubs in the Premier League,
  6. And, last but not least, I have it on good authority that Ian Darke and Steve McManaman are looking forward to traveling to a different country — Wales — to commentate a Premier League match from Swansea City’s ground (YES!).

For the latest TV schedule featuring games on ESPN2, FOX Soccer, FOX Soccer Plus and, go here.

Meanwhile, ESPN2 will kick off its coverage of the 2011-12 Premier Legue on Saturday at 9:30am ET with live coverage of Fulham against Aston Villa.

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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.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

37 Responses to 6 Things I Learned About ESPN’s Coverage of the 2011/12 EPL Season

  1. Christian says:

    Very happy to see they’ll continue to do their halftime reports from the grounds of the stadium. I enjoyed that very much last season. As well, I’m glad they didn’t cancel Saturdays broadcast altogether. Let the games begin.

  2. skpd says:

    Thanks once again Gaffer for the insights!

    Though I have to say no 4 is dissapointing….they should just stick to the ESPK UK (or SKY) graphics. much better.

    • SpH Swans says:

      I *really* agree …

      I like the “prem only” graphics – do not try to make the prem the same as MLS! I am also worried that FoxSoccer is going to do the same “use our own graphics” thing …


      • Don’t worry, Fox will probably have to stick to the Premier League Productions graphics since they don’t have a production crew in the UK to do production from the stadiums.

        I also liked seeing the ESPN UK graphics on ESPN’s Premiership coverage. It gave it an authentic British feel IMO.

        • SpH Swans says:

          FoxSoccer *did* use their “Soccer Night in America” graphics package for the Paul Scholes Testimonial match (ManU vs Cosmos) … and they had two American guys doing the play-by-play … I was VERY discouraged …

  3. skpd says:

    ah, grrrr, sorry for the typos (no way to edit my post either)

  4. Ryne says:

    You forgot to add that they feel it’s their duty/right to report the scores around the league, when none of the other broadcasters do that :( Even still, I enjoy their broadcasts.

    • Tony says:

      All broadcasters do that in the UK so if you’re looking for the genuine experience then you’re getting it.

    • Orb says:

      I agree. I spread my game watching on the ‘net over the whole weekend, and as much as I love seeing at least one in HD, hearing all the other scores keeps me from watching ESPN on Sat. morning.

  5. Harry says:

    And it looks like NBC will be airing MLS games here. I may write up a little something about my thoughts on this

  6. MG says:

    “ESPN will continue to delve into the rich history of all 20 clubs in the Premier League”

    This is one of my favorite and most enjoyable aspects of ESPN’s coverage, the way they delve into the history of the particular home club on any given match, going into their museums and trophy rooms, etc etc. Glad to know they’ll continue that tradition.

  7. richardfromnyc says:

    Anyway we can ESPN to not run that damn ticker at the bottom of the screen and not announce scores?.. Fulham V. Aston Villa match will definitely be the last match i see this weekend because of this..

    Also let’s all hope that ESPN doesn’t show Little League World Series Game before any EPL matches – we’ll all miss the first 30 minutes when the game goes over its allotted timed

    • Crpls says:

      When that happens, the game is shown elsewhere, though usually on ESPN Classic or ESPN News and not everyone gets those.

      • Matt says:

        He’s referencing the USA Mexico friendly that just took place two days ago. They didn’t simulcast it anywhere. Luckily I had ESPN3 and didn’t miss it at all. It was pretty ridiculous. You would think they would just move it over, as Crpls suggested…

        • Crpls says:

          The first part of the US-Mexico game was on ESPN News until the LLWS was over.

          ESPNU had a U20 WC game on IIRC. Not sure what was on ESPN Classic.

    • LB says:

      Monday, August 22 – LLWS – 12:00 pm ET – ESPN2.
      Manchester United-Tottenham – 2:55 pm ET – ESPN2.
      Hopefully this LLWS game doesn’t go 2 hours 55 mins or more!
      (Can’t throw the soccer on ESPN-as they are showing a LLWS
      game as well.)

      • richardfromnyc says:

        UNBELIEVABLE – that LLWS will now definitely go into extra innings!….18-16 Penn vs. NH – in an 16 inning game. I’ll probably DVR the game so not sure how to setup any contingency plans.. dvr ESPN news too? =)

  8. Efain says:

    As others mentioned here…..would be nice if there was a #7 announcing that ESPN has come to its senses and will not announce or display other match scores throughout the league!

    I think that this issue has been one of the most annoying to all of us and I am surprised ESPN has not listened :(

  9. Crpls says:

    Showing live scores is THEIR JOB. Unless ESPN gets the rights to show a tape delayed game right after the live game, they’ll always show the scores. Even then they’d only not show the game they’re showing like when they had the Champions League rights.

    • Efrain says:

      Crpls, it is THEIR JOB? Fox Soccer does not show other scores whether or not they are playing a different match later. JOBS get re-classified all the time. They can easily re-classify their job to cater to what the fans want. Fans want Baseball, Football, Basketball, etc. scores displayed…. great keep doing THEIR JOB with that. Soccer fans do not want scores so they can do that too. Pretty simple really.

      • Crpls says:

        As a soccer fan who watches the games on ESPN, I do want the other scores, but thanks for telling me what I want.

        If the other scores being shown hurt their ratings or enough people complained that it got someone in position to change it, maybe it would happen.

        • richardfromnyc says:

          Yeah, i think we’ve been complaining for years.. remember when ESPN ticker would show the final result of a taped delay CL game (when they had the rights) for a game they showed for the first time.

          I couldn’t top Efrain post on ESPN’s Job about displaying scores. Well done! FSC does not display scores, no reason why ESPN shoud.

      • Jake Islas says:

        Efrain, Fox Soccer shows other games later on replay, and also on unlike ESPN. So they would be taking viewers off their own services if they showed the score. They show just about every game thats not on ESPN on either Fox Soccer, FS+ or What does ESPN care if they show the score? Like he said, it’s their job so they are going to show the scores of the other matches because some people want that. It’s their job to cover and report scores to their viewers. They’re presenting their Premier League coverage so not showing PL scores would look bad. I don’t like it either but just saying, Crpls has a point. They show other NBA, MLB, NFL scores during a live broadcast, why would that change?

    • I agree. I’ve never understood the American soccer concept of not wanting to know the other scores. The NFL broadcast setup is much the same as the Premiership on Saturdays, and nobody complains about CBS and Fox showing scores (and highlights for that matter) of the other games.

      Maybe I only think this because I don’t have 10-12 hours on Saturday to devote to watching soccer. I’m lucky if I see two games.

      • richardfromnyc says:

        The reason is the DVR and soccer games are under 2 hours which gives a soccer fanatic like myself the choice to watch multiple games. I want to see both Sunderland / Liverpool and Aston Villa/ Fulham.

        With the Internet and Smartphones – what is the point of announcing & displaying scores on ESPN when they know it annoys a significant part of their tv audience?

        • Crpls says:

          Then quit watching until they change. If it annoys a “significant part of their TV audience” (which is completely impossible to prove for starters) and they CONTINUE to watch, while the rest obviously don’t care, it doesn’t affect their ratings, which is what they care about.

          If it bothers you that much, and they’re clearly not changing at the moment, DVR all the games you want to watch and watch the ESPN game last. There. Problem solved.

          • The Gaffer says:

            Crpls, I’m with Richard on this one. I really dislike ESPN’s spoilers throughout their 10am ET games. Many fans don’t watch the 10am ET game when it’s on ESPN2 for simply that reason. We’ve written several articles about it in the past on EPL Talk. It’s been a sticking point with a large number of our readers. Some people like it, some aren’t bothered by it, and some hate it.

            The Gaffer

          • Crpls says:

            Well, I’m fine with it bothering people, that’s their choice. And to the people who’ve actually put their money where their mouth is and quit watching–more power to them.

            My point is that it’s obviously not a big enough problem amongst the viewing population to affect their bottom line–ratings and ad rates. So acting baffled or like they’re not “listening” to their viewers is absurd and dishonest.

  10. komodosam says:

    Steve McManaman covering United games is a joke! I’d only be okay with it if we could have Gary Neville covering Liverpool games.

    • Matt says:

      His emotional swing during the Villa v United game at Villa Park last year was pretty entertaining. His mood got progressively better as Villa went 2-0 up, but as United asserted themselves, he got progressively gloomier, especially after Vidic equalized…

  11. Toots says:

    Another season of exclusively using to see the EPL TV schedule in the States. Thanks guys!

  12. Toots says:

    Is Ian Darke the commentator who manages to put an “r” at the end of EVERY word that ends in “a?” Iniester, Ghaner, drives me freaking crazy.

  13. Nelson says:

    Espn2/espn3 is so much more enjoyable to watch than It’s a shame that Fox has the rights to so many EPL matches and can’t even produce one. No pregame show, no halftime coverage by on air personalities. It is horrible. And to think ESPN3 is free and Foxsoccer just raised there price to $20 a month! I hope Espn can get more EPL matches in the future or Fox gets there act together.

    As for the spoilers on ESPN, I believe fans’ voice will eventually be heard. Technology changes content. Networks need to change with changing times. With such a large portion of viewers watching their content on DVR or Replay over the web, spoiler alerts will be necessary. I’d be curious as to how many EPL watchers in America watch live coverage. I’d bet it’s a low percentage.

    • komodosam says:

      I disagree. I much prefer Fox Soccer. Warren Barton is excellent, and Fox Soccer saves me from having to see or hear Steve McBiasedManaman.

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