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Which A-Team of Presenters, Pundits and Commentators Should NBC Hire For Its EPL Coverage?

brian moore commentator Which A Team of Presenters, Pundits and Commentators Should NBC Hire For Its EPL Coverage?

You’re in a meeting room with the major executives from NBC Universal and NBC Sports. The topic of discussion is what talent you want to pursue to build a world-class presentation of the Premier League for viewers in the United States.

Question is: Who do you recommend?

Consider the different positions you need to fill: A presenter, a few pundits — and perhaps an American-based commentator to bed in for certain Premier League commentaries. Or maybe you’d prefer to have more US-based commentators and co-commentators involved? And since NBC will have pre-match, half-time and post-match programming, as well as wrap-up shows, what talent would you recommend that NBC hires?

NBC’s Arlo White looks like a sure bet by NBC Sports. But what role would you have him in? And who do you build around him to ensure a quality production?

Post your suggestions below.

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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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149 Responses to Which A-Team of Presenters, Pundits and Commentators Should NBC Hire For Its EPL Coverage?

  1. Adam says:

    NBC should stay AWAY from hiring American commentators for the sake of their nationality. I would much prefer all foreign and qualified and experienced pundits, color men, and play by play commentators to subpar Americans.

    Plus, I trust an “english accent” commentating much more than an American accent.

    Finally, we Americans have terrible terminology when it comes to football – we call it soccer, and we mix in references from other sports (i.e. “He really struck out with that shot!”, or, “He’s got a hot hand tonight!”) . Let those who know football do the commentating on it.

    • Reid says:

      Wow. I hope they do nothing like that.

      I’d love for them to have some American involvement in at least the pundit area. More focus is being put on the US market and I think it would be nice to have an American that new viewers can relate to.

      I have nothing wrong with American terms if it’s being produced for broadcast in the US for a US audience. I grew up calling them cleats, it a field, and the game soccer. These are comfortable terms that will allow people to view and understand the game without the elitism that so many people want to insert into the sport.

      • Oliver Tse says:


        The young viewers, particulary males 18-24, migrate to EPL on TV because they play EA Sports FIFA.

        EA Sports FIFA uses 100% British commentary, even for the U.S. market.

        EA Sports FIFA is now the #1 selling sports video game in the U.S. market (not just worldwide.)

        One would expect NBC, in conjunction with BT, to hire “affordable” British TV talent for studio host, touchline reporting, punditry, and in the commentary booth for 1-2 matches each week (and use IMG/Premier League Prodution world feeds for the other 8 matches.)

        • Reid says:

          Thanks for describing my age group to me.

          I hope they do hire affordable English talent, and I hope they do the same with American talent. I see no need to discriminate based on nationality.

        • Paul says:

          BT have already got their main host sorted. They’ve poached him from the BBC. A guy called Jake Humphrey… mostly famous for covering the F1 races but does the odd bit of football here & there. BT won’t have a guaranteed 1 game for every weekend of the season (I think there’s 5 weeks they’ll have no games). Only time they’ll have 2 games is during the midweeks & bank holiday rounds.

      • David WC says:

        Reid, if there was an American commentator who was skillful sure why not. The issue is there is NOT one. As Adam pointed out the current crop of commentators constantly use basketball and American football references; this grates the ears of all footie fans and more importantly it does not give the sport it’s own identity. I think that if they want to do footie colour commentary they should apprentice in the European leagues first.

    • kevin says:

      Ian darke / Martin Tyler Ian Darke’s call during the final game of the epl season last year on ESPN was EPIC. His accent is perfect (not too British that it makes americans laugh because it sounds like oliver stone reporting in on the daily show w/ jon stewart) and always matches the cadence of the game with his commentary.

      • Ken Maltby says:

        Plus the best co-commentator I have EVER heard – Efan Okoku. that would be perfect! (for me as an Englishman abroad)

  2. Matt says:

    I’ll just watch on Telemundo, because I find English commentators to be extremely negative most of the time and xenophobic in nature (usually in the Champions League coverage to be fair)

    • Oliver Tse says:

      The Telemundo guys aren’t necessary the greatest either. They are also sitting in Miami, calling matches “off tube”. If you understand any Spanish, you will be reaching for the mute button “pronto”.

      • NeilO says:

        Agreed. Univision’s are the worst. Over dramatic garbage comes out of Pablo Ramirezes mouth specially for cup games. Telemundos got Andres Cantor. HUGE DIFFERENCE. More knowledgeable and chill, dont be surprised when you see him call the shots in NBC.

    • coloneldickweed says:

      I wish there was an English audio, Spanish audio, and an option to only hear the stadium noises without commentary.

      • Guy says:

        Heaven, colonel. :-)

      • foss says:

        Fully agree mate.

        One thing you can do for now if you have at least a 3 speaker setup is to lower the volume on the center speaker. Then turn the volume up and the atmosphere and crowd will drown out the commentary a bit.

        If you have a 5 or 6 channel setup, you could even lower the left/center/right and just crank the surrounds.

  3. Stephen says:

    Martin Tyler and Andy Gray! Dream Team!
    Gary Neville, Lee Dixon for pundits.

    You have to throw in an American commentator/pundit. As long as it’s not Eric Wynalda.

    Just stay away from David Pleat, Trevor Francis, Ray Wilkins, and Stewart Robson.

  4. Michael says:

    Couldn’t agree more with the American commentator comment. I’m American and I live through 90 minutes of embarrassment every time a game has an American commentator. Get Derek Rae, Janusz mihalik, Andy gray wouldn’t be the worst. Just, please no Fox Soccer Americans. Hire iain Macintosh or some football ramblers.

    • Reid says:

      We can’t expect them to get better if we bar them from the sport. Several are not so hot, but I’ll take Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman any day.

      • CTBlues says:

        Alexi Lalas is the biggest tool in the world of soccer, but Taylor Twellman is getting better so I would be ok with that.

        • jtm371 says:

          friends don’t let friends do lalas.he is a jacka$$!

        • Reid says:

          I can see how he comes off like that. But I enjoy listening to him on TV and twitter.

          • David WC says:

            Reid seriously mate Lallas is a blowhard know it all. He tries to contradict people who have been players in the top tier of football for many years, I have even seen him try to contradict coaches like Roberto Martinez who have been managing teams for years. He is exactly the type of American people dislike. I would rather poke hot needles through my ears and ears than watch or listen to that idiot.

  5. Jon says:

    Somebody with connections has to dig up the dirt on Ian Darke’s contract with ESPN. Even without the EPL, imagine they’ll still want him for the USMNT games in 2013 and WC2014. Could he work for both NBC and ESPN? I’m sure it’s in the details somewhere…

    • Oliver Tse says:

      I believe Darke’s deal with ESPN, Inc. runs through July 2014, covering the World Cup. If that were the case, then Darke cannot move unless ESPN, Inc. were to let Darke out of the deal.

    • Creek says:

      Darke has sort of won the lottery on getting to call all of those fantastic finishes the last few years with USMNT vs Algeria, USWNT, and Man City.
      To his infinate credit, he gave everyone of those games a quality, unique and memorable call.

    • Kev says:

      So is ESPN paying Ian to do nothing from August 2013 till the WC? I”ll really miss him on Saturday mornings!

  6. Ryan says:

    I actually find football punditry a fascinating and sad indictment of the sport itself. If you compare the level of analysis and tactical nous of a typical football pundit to those in baseball or American Football – the likes of Motson, Beglin et al are just a joke.

    For so many football pundits, they seem to view their job as appealing the lowest common denominator. So you get ex-pros who will, literally, come out with such helpful punditry as ‘he has to hit the target there’. Or ‘he’ll be disappointed with that’. Or ‘the manager will be at them at half time’. There are notable exceptions – see the stellar work of Gary Neville on Sky’s Monday Night Football – but almost every other pundit either states the obvious or speaks in clichés. Alan Hansen occasionally offers a nugget of insight – especially on defensive blunders – but his partner in crime Alan Shearer hasn’t come up with a tactical tidbit in his 3 years of lounging on the MOTD couch.

    I like to think that North American audiences won’t put up with that drivel, because generally the commentary in other major sports is so good. You watch an NFL game and the pundits will not only explain the intricacies of a blocking pattern designed to free the RB, but they’ll also tell you about the RB’s key attributes, high school career and charity work. Compare that to comments about, for example, Luiz Suarez – in the ESPN commentary on Sunday he was called a pantomime villain no less than 3 times. What does that even mean? Does that help us understand the match?

    And while all of that is bad, the very worst part of football commentary that would never, ever be put up with is the use of ex-pros who are shamelessly biased. Sometimes it’s in that ‘aw that’s kind of sweet’ way like Ray Wilkins and his love of all English and Chelsea players. But sometimes it makes viewing a chore best done on mute. See Niall Quinn – who has inexplicably been tasked to comment on Manchester United matches, despite his seething hatred of Manchester United typically becoming apparent before the match has even kicked off.

    The bottom line is that the best word to describe football punditry at present is ‘lazy’. One hopes that this massive, bumper deal with NBC would encourage some improvement in this department. But I doubt it.

    • Guy says:

      Well, you made a meal of that. ;-)

    • Reid says:

      Well said. I’ve thought many of the same things while watching games. One of the reason I dislike the beIN coverage I’ve seen.

      • Oliver Tse says:

        Phil Mushnick of the New York Post used the term “oily” to describe beIN SPORT LLC. That should wake you up to reality if you still believe that beIN SPORT LLC were a legitimate media company.

        Youssef and Nasser are “private bankers” who pretend to be sports and media executives.

        • dano328 says:

          beIN is on my $hit list but only because I can’t get it. I resent them for buying assets that can’t use properly. Reminds me of certain Oil run clubs. But if I had that channel I probably wouldn’t complain

          • Oliver Tse says:

            The entire media industry considers beIN SPORT LLC to be a complete joke, as the two executives in charge are more concerned with their “private banking” activities instead of actually building a media business.

          • FakeTseTseFly says:

            Oliver – that’s a great comment from someone has no inside knowledge and can’t even get through the door of most media outlets.

    • this is great says:

      I disagree that North American audiences “won’t put up with that drivel.” In my opinion, that started here, so we are more used to it.

      When I first started watching prem matches (2001), there seemed to only be one commentator calling the game. There was no color guy talking over him. Furthermore that one commentator himself didn’t talk over the game and for stretches of the game wouldn’t say much at all. Having grown up in the color-mad production that is NFL, I really enjoyed the simplicity.

      Now fast forward a couple of years, and now every epl match has a color guy.

      I’m not sure what my point is, other than I enjoy a commentator that will allow me to absorb the match and not point out every little thing I’ve already seen with my own two eyes.

      • Kobashi says:

        I like the 1 commentator set up too. I really don’t need a color guy when there is a good play by play guy doing both jobs.

    • David WC says:

      Ryan very sorry mate but what you have described for the NFL is exactly what is wrong with sports in America, I don’t give a flying fig about his charity work or who he is dating, all I care about is can he play and does he make it exciting for me to watch. I do NOT need my commentator to fill every second of the play with his voice. I would rather just watch players execute their skill with minimum chatter.

      If you cannot see how all that chatter dumbs down the game then I cannot help you.

      Yes football commentary is full of cliches and ridiculous comments but it is also full of real moments that the sanitized commentary of the NFL, MLB and most other American sports lack. Take Gary Neville’s share delight at Fernando Torres’ goal in the CL semi last season pure unfiltered joy!!!

  7. Connor says:

    Alan Shearer, Mark Lawrenson, Robbie Savage, Adrian Chiles, Mark Townsend.

    These are undoubtedly the best pundits around. NBC need to sign these guys up immediately.

    • Paul says:

      Adrian Chiles… are you having a laugh?! I feel like smashing my TV up every time he’s in the ITV studio. He always thinks he’s really funny but it goes down like a lead balloon.

      As for Shearer, Lawrenson & Savage… they’ve all got jobs already ;)

    • Jack Tomczuk says:

      Alan Shearer is the most terrible boring pundit on the planet.

  8. Oliver Tse says:

    Every British sports TV talent you can think of who has presenting and/or news anchoring experience will be on NBC’s radar.

    I can name 4 off the top of my head (there are probably at least a dozen more candidates):

    1. Rebecca Lowe, whose contract with ESPN UK expires in June 2013 and has to move to another company because ESPN UK will lose EPL.

    2. Terry Baddoo, who has been doing freelance work for several entities (Al Jazeera English sports news, CCTV International in English among others) after leaving CNN World Sport in 2011. Baddoo still lives in Atlanta and has full U.S. work authorization.

    3. Phil Jones, who did Wimbledon for ESPN U.S. in 2012. Jones worked for the BBC during the past decade since leaving CNN World Sport during the CNN/Sports Illustrated era around 2000.

    4. Candy Reid, who left CNN World Sport in December 2011 and has been doing freelance assignments. Reid also has full U.S. work authorization.

    I don’t believe Ian Darke can move because I believe his contract with ESPN, Inc. runs through July 2014 (not June 2013.)

    I do NOT expect Derek Rae to be in play, as Derek’s passion is the Scottish Premier League, which ESPN U.K. has renewed for 4 additional seasons through May 2017.

    No shortage of pundit candidates for NBC, including Americans who played in the EPL. Kasey Keller is one obvious candidate though his primary gig with the Seattle Sounders may make him unavailable. Brian McBride (currently with FOX) is another.

    • Guy says:

      I like McBride. Words don’t just come gushing out of his mouth, so I actually find myself paying attention to what he has to say and it’s usually to the point.

    • Paul says:

      Just because ESPN have rights running through multiple years doesn’t mean they’re going to be around to see it through… rights can be transferred. Losing Premier League rights was only the first blow… they’ve since lost Serie A, Ligue 1, your very own MLS, Brazil and the Aviva Premiership rugby to BT. They’re running on bare minimum now and looks increasingly likely they’ll be closing down at the end of the season and just carrying on with the ESPN America and ESPN Classic channels instead.

      • Oliver Tse says:

        ESPN U.K. still has Scottish Premier League (through May 2017), FA Cup (through May 2014), Bundesliga (through May 2015), and UEFA Europa League (through May 2015).

        ESPN U.K. will have plenty of work for Derek Rae if Rae really wants to stay at ESPN U.K., with occasional assignments at ESPN U.S. in Connecticut or on site (World Cup 2014, Euro 2016, summer friendlies.)

        Rae’s passion is the Scottish Premier League.

        However, ESPN U.K. will NOT have enough work for Rebecca Lowe for her to stay. She will likely have to move elsewhere. BT? NBC?

        • Paul says:

          As I’ve already said, just because they’ve got rights deals in place on multiple year deals doesn’t mean they’ll see them through.

          The head of operations has quit his post which is firmly believed to pave the way for the closure of the channel at the end of the season. The SPL matches are secondary with Sky having the best picks, the FA Cup doesn’t guarantee them weekly football, their Europa League deal only gives them ‘lesser’ games that ITV doesn’t want and the Bundesliga is simply filler to pad out the channel.

          They gave up NFL coverage, they’ve lost individual 5 football leagues and rugby meaning they’ll be running a bare skeleton service and couldn’t justify the stand alone subscription they charge. I don’t make this stuff up you know, it is informed sense I speak.

          • Oliver Tse says:

            Re-checking my industry sources, I believe your observation that ESPN UK may wind down operations by May 2013 may be correct.

            If so, Derek Rae will have to move to another company as well.

          • paul says:

            I know it’s correct otherwise I wouldn’t have typed it in the first place. I don’t need your “industry sources” to tell me that.

  9. cmasia says:

    My wish list is long and varied…

    1) Since NBC has so many available channels, please utilize one of them each week to show all the IMG produced programming.
    This includes pre-game and post game analysis, daily news programs, and weekly studio preview ( Friday night )and review panel ( Monday night )discussions. These shows are terrific.

    2) Spend a bit of money and open a studio in London, which will attract a stronger pool of talent.

    3)Make one game, the Game of the Week, and have a dedicated commentary pair, similar to what ESPN has now with Darke / McNanaman.

    4) For the package of games to be offered via “multichannel video programming distributors”, develop a package like ESPN Game Plan. 4 matches per week live for, say, $149 for the season.

    5) Use IMG’s commentary for all matches except the Game of the Week.

    6) Ensure all local NBC affiliates carry the “over the air” matches LIVE.

    7) Don’t sub license matches to other channels. Ensure we have TV access to all 380 matches through the NBC channels, and a “Game Plan” package.

    8) I’d consider Keyes and Gray. Yeah, they’re egos got too big at Sky, and they deserved to get canned, but they were the best,

    9) Follow through on NBC’s Lazarus comment: “We believe in the indigenous voice. We think that there is a tone and tact that the international soccer fan expects and we will not disappoint.”

    NBC has a chance to do some great things here. Hope they don’t blow it.


    • Casey G says:

      I was just gonna say Keyes in Studio hosting and Gray co-commentating would be an intriguing hire, since all they are doing is their radio show on talksport now, like or dislike them it would give NBC some definite credentials compared to likes of Cobi Jones, Marcelo Balboa and Kyle Martino.

  10. Jose H. says:

    I just hope that they keep using the international feed like Fox Soccer Channel has been doing.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      The IMG/Premier League Productions World Feeds vary in quality.

      Jon Champion, who usually calls the Sunday 8:30am New York Time (1330 London Time) matches, is excellent.

      Martin Tyler is vastly overrated in my opinion. Time waits for no one in this business, and Tyler’s age is catching up to him.

      • Paul says:

        What’s age got to do with it? Tyler is still on top form as he was the day Sky poached him all those years ago

        • Oliver Tse says:

          Tyler’s announcing work has been lacklustre in recent years, lacking energy.

          I would NOT hire him.

          • Tim says:

            Luckily, no one in TV will hire YOU, so Martin need not worry.

            His style has always been very conversational, and he is still the best.

            Perhaps if he was a Latina with enormous implants he’d be better qualified to work on your dream network?

          • gbewing says:

            Oliver are you friends with Dust?

      • mark williamson says:

        Yes you’re right, it is your opinion. Tyler is a great commentator. He and Darke or on the same high level game calling plateau.

  11. Oliver Tse says:

    Just got word from an industry source in London that Rogers Media and Bell Media have retained the Canadian rights to EPL for 3 additional seasons.

    That is consistent with what I have known since Phil Mushnick of the New York Post started attacking beIN SPORT LLC in 2 columns in August, one of which used the word “oily” to describe beIN SPORT LLC.

    beIN SPORT LLC has NO INTEREST in bidding for U.S. or Canadian media rights to EPL.

    Why? The FAPL is under government scrutiny to keep the bidding process clean, just like the DFL (Bundesliga) was being watched by government watchdogs.

    beIN SPORT LLC, namely Youssef and Nasser, prefer to purchase sports media rights only on the condition that the broker/distributor/promoter is willing to conduct business “in private”, at locales such as Vaduz or Schaan, out of sight of government watchdogs.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      Rogers (Sportsnet/Sportsnet ONE/Sportsnet WORLD) and Bell Media (TSN/TSN2/RDS/RDS2) are splitting the EPL rights 50-50 in Canada starting August 2013: 190 matches each.

    • Paul says:

      What the HELL are you on about? What ‘government scrutiny’ are you referring to?! The government have sod all to do with the Premier League. They can do what they want. You might want to go and speak to the FA… they’re competitions are on beIN Sport. Shall I contact the Daily Mail to say Oliver thinks it was down to oil money backhanders? :-/

      • Oliver Tse says:


        FOX Sports Media Group has the rights to the FA Cup and England home friendlies in the U.S. through May 2018.

        The U.S. and Canadian rights to the English Football League, including the League Cup, belong to beIN SPORT LLC. beIN SPORT LLC bought those rights from Pitch International LLC.

        One industry source told me that Pitch International LLC did business with Youssef and Nasser “privately” at the “House of Prince Max” in Vaduz. I interpret that as a “private banking” arrangement at LGT Bank, where Prince Max is the CEO.

  12. Oliver Tse says:

    The one British announcer that I would NOT hire if I were in charge:

    Martin Tyler

    Tyler is vastly overrated in my opinion.

    His lack of energy in his broadcasts in recent years should ring alarm bells.

  13. dust says:

    It really does depend on the kind of shows they have.

    Hosting / Anchor game pre and post show Hit list Rebecca Lowe, Richard Keys, Andy Goldstein. Gary Lineker.

    Pundits hit list: Ruud Gullet, Glen Hoddle, John Harks, Julie Fowdy, Jason Cundy, Harry Redknapp, Stan Collymore, Andy Gray.

    Commentators: Use the included feed or add any Stream Matrin Tyler is on.

  14. Tod says:

    I have no idea who it should be; I know that watching SkySports from England or BBC is far better than anything from North American studios.

    The live match commentating and play-by-play should be directly from England.

    • Oliver Tse says:


      That’s also the reason I have no interest in watching EPL on Telemundo with announcers calling matches “off tube” from Miami.

      EPL is a British product and the match commentators, good or bad, should be BRITISH.

      • Tod says:

        I wish we could watch Bundesliga in German by pressing the “audio track” button on our remotes.

        • Oliver Tse says:

          DISH offers Bundesliga with German commentary to U.S. viewers. The subscription fee is rather expensive.

          The DFL offers the Bundesliga to international TV partners with ENGLISH commentary and graphics. Alan Fountain and Phil Bonney generally call Bundesliga matches off tube from a studio in Cologne.

          • Tod says:

            yes, I am aware of the German package on Dish. btw, one can subscribe to two different cable/ svcs. so, what I might do ITF is to have a “normal” subscription then get DISH for the $10 fee which gives only the basic broadcast channels, plus add the German package. But, it would be nice if a guy could get only the channels he wants for less than $60 per month.

  15. dust says:

    bring back Brian Moore!

  16. Matt says:

    1) STAY AWAY FROM THE CRAZY GINGER. I hope ESPN has a lifetime contract with that clown, so he stays as far away from the Prem as possible. It’d also be ideal to avoid Christian Miles, phony accent and all.

    2) Could the Richard Keys/ Andy Gray combo be in play for on site match commentary? Since that whole B-reel female ref fiasco, they had been blackballed but have since been doing a radio show on talksport. You’d think that they want to return to calling matches again at some point, and this may be the best chance to pounce on a team that is extremely qualified and talented (just no B-reel allowed. they can only do it live haha)

    3) I love the idea of Rebecca Lowe anchoring the studio coverage. She has been fantastic IMHO whenever ESPN has had her on.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      Don’t know yet whether Rebecca Lowe would be willing to relocate to Stamford, Connecticut.

      If the EPL on NBC studio show were based in London or at the stadium, then location would not be an issue.

      If Rebecca Lowe (age 33) were not available to NBC, there are other competent British female EPL studio host candidates available. I understand that Candy Reid (age 36, 11 years of experience as anchor/reporter of CNN World Sport, has U.S. passport) has already interviewed with NBC Sports Group.

  17. Casey G says:


    Alexi Lalas
    Eric Wynalda
    John Harkes
    Ray Hudson

    yeah that pretty much covers it, feel free to add more tho.

    • Oliver Tse says:


      Richard Keys

      Andy Gray

      Martin Tyler

      Keys and Gray have too much baggage from their past.

      Tyler’s work has been lacklustre in recent years. The lack of energy from Tyler should ring alarm bells in your head.

      • Attaturk says:

        Yeah this. Tyler remember was hired to be the main voice of ESPN’s world cup coverage and in fact covered the final.

        But Ian Darke became the star in no small part because he got the most memorable American games. But he was and is far more dynamic than the low-key Tyler.

    • jtm371 says:

      kyle martino

    • jtm371 says:

      arlo white

  18. Sacto Blues says:

    Martin Tyler and I hate to admit it but Gary Neville. Will NBC Sports have a daily hour long Football / Soccer report to compete against Fox Soccer Channel ? please no Kyle Martino or Eric ” Waldo ” Wynalda.

  19. Jose H. says:

    Hire Bobby McMahon for punditry.

  20. Smokey Bacon says:

    It’s going to be a bit hard to bring back Brian Moore! I really hope they stick with the UK feeds and also the Review show, Premier League World etc, rather than do their own stuff. Definitely no US commentators with their PK’s and “on-frame” nonsense. It’s easier to list who we don’t want. No to Stone Wynalda, Barton, Costigan, Martino. Brian McBride is fine – at least he played in the premier league. It will be a shame to lose Ian Darke as he was becoming the voice of soccer in the US, a bit like Martin Tyler is the commentators commentator in the UK. Adrian Healy and Robbie Earle for play by play, with a weekly phone-in hosted by Rebecca Lowe and James Richardson, just like the old Setanta days.

    • Globalgame says:

      If the NBC operations for the Premier League are to be in London/UK, the anchor host should be James Richardson (aka AC Jimbo). He offers something quite different to what most anchor hosts offer. He hosted Gazzetta Football Italia very successfully for a number of years in the 1990s which many people considered the best football show in England at that time. Since Gazzetta, he has gone on to host many other football shows, some of which have included the EPL/IMG produced Football Today and EPL Weekend preview shows. Also is presenter of The Guardian’s Football Weekly podcasts. He is never considered for the BBC or ITV hosting positions and if there is any truth that ESPN UK is shutting down at the end of the season, he could be looking for a new presenting role if Serie A is no longer going to be on ESPN UK

      • Casey G says:

        Richardson was good on Setanta during its run here in the states, but then again Rebecca Lowe also presented for setanta and I thought she was fantastic, so she would be my first choice.

      • paul says:

        Even if ESPN sticks around in some capacity, Serie A has already been sold. It will 100% be on the new BT Vision Sport channel next season and not on ESPN.

        • Globalgame says:

          Serie A on BT vision Sport next season probably means that James Richardson will move to be the main presenter of Serie A on the new channel. Hopefully, he’ll still be able to do some of the EPL preview shows & continue his Guardian podcasts.

      • Tod says:

        I liked Setanta’s studio people. who was the fat fellow with dark hair? good analysis. Jamie Redknapp and Gary Neville are also quality people

        • Kobashi says:

          Good to know there is another Pat Dolan supporter posting here. Dolan could be so caustic in his analysis. He would rip teams to shreds if they just weren’t good enough on the day. God that guy was pretty great at his gig!

  21. coloneldickweed says:

    One guy I’m a little intrigued by is Friedel. He is likely retiring after this season. They had him on for the UCL final last year and I found what he had to say pretty intriguing, despite the presence of Rob Stone and co. around him. His accent is so awesome, too.

    • Attaturk says:

      I agree with this Friedel would be a natural hire as I think he is about to retire and certainly he’s an American voice (with a slight British accent) that understands the EPL as well as anyone.

      • Oliver Tse says:

        Friedel needs to lose his fake British accent if he wants to be taken seriously by U.S. viewers.

        • Attaturk says:

          It is hardly fake it’s environmental. He’s lived there for years, you acquire an accent unconsciously due the the constant exposure.

          It’s the underlying principle of learning language, it’s not as strong when you are an adult but it is still present.

        • Tim says:

          Finally I agree with you. Friedel and Madonna both need to lose the faux British accent.

        • R2Dad says:

          Friedel would be a great addition. I think having an American in the broadcast with all the American/Brit back and forth would be entertaining, especially since he’s lived there so long and he’s not a phony.

        • Guy says:

          So, you think he’s putting that on?! I disagree. It’s not a British accent, but the accent of an American who has lived in England for many years.

          I have lived in North Carolina for 13 years now and I guarantee my friends back in PA would definitely notice the change in my accent/syntax/language, but there is nothing fake about it.

          • jtm371 says:

            i have heard players from the national team joke about the accent.last i heard Kasey Keller never picked it up when he was in England.just sayin!

          • Guy says:

            Y’all er crazy! ;-)

            Fair enough. I just think it’s pretty hard for someone to consistently fake an accent, sounding exactly the same all the time.

          • Oliver Tse says:

            Derek Rae maintained an American accent from 1994 through 2000 before switching back to a Scottish accent.

            Anyone who has been trained to perform character voices can maintain a particular accent practically forever.

            Brad Friedel’s fake British accent hurts his credibility to the U.S. audience.

  22. Nick Petrefski says:

    Bloody hell. No mention of Men in Blazers? Any list should begin and end with Mike Positive and Toilet.

    • dano328 says:

      Absolutely. Mike and Rog are Brits who have lived here for 20+ years and are determined to spread the gospel. But they have pretty good day jobs and might not be available

  23. FakeTseTseFly says:

    Anyone who has not or will not give Oliver the time of day, anyone who has called out his BS predictions (didn’t you say beIN would destroy everyone with their EPL bid??) and any female NOT below the age of 30 are on his ‘do not hire list’.

    Your trash talk of beIN not being legit smacks of hypocrisy because it appears you and your nonsense are also none too legit. It’s also bordering on slanderous. Even the Sheiks know you’re not legit because they just don’t care what you say anymore.

    Thankfully the suits at NBC will hire who they want, paying no attention to yours or anyone else’s supposed ‘list’.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      The owner of beIN SPORT LLC has the money to outbid anyone for anything.

      The fact that beIN SPORT LLC chose to overpay for Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1, Copa America, Copa do Brasil, English Football League and League Cup should tell you that.

      However, the executives in charge of beIN SPORT LLC are “private bankers” who believe in maximizing their own revenue via “private banking”, particularly at the “House of Prince Max”.

      The fact that beIN SPORT LLC stayed away from the Bundesliga, coupled with Phil Mushnick’s attack columns in the New York Post in August, should have told you that beIN SPORT LLC has no intention of bidding for the U.S. or Canadian rights to EPL.

      The Sheik is either too busy to notice what Youssef and Nasser are doing behind his back, or is completely clueless.

      • Oliver Tse says:

        Youssef and Nasser have been making a lot of noise in the boxing industry recently, both in Europe and the U.S.

        Boxing would be the perfect fit for beIN SPORT LLC, as many boxing promoters share Youssef and Nasser’s preferred method of conducting media rights transactions: in “private”, at locales such as Vaduz or Schaan, away from government watchdogs.

      • paul says:

        So were you telling people since August that beIN wouldn’t bid? No you haven’t.

        You know as much as anybody else so stop pretending to ask your ‘industry figures’ and all that rubbish.

        What you keep saying is LIBEL. If anybody from their side of the fence sees it, you are in deep trouble because you’ve got no facts of your own to back it up. Stop living in fantasy land and just be normal!

        • Oliver Tse says:

          If Youssef and Nasser want to sue someone, they will go after the New York Post (which is owned by NewsCorp) and Phil Mushnick first.

          Mushnick wrote two columns attacking beIN SPORT LLC, one on August 3, one on around August 20.

          Mushnick used the term “oily” to describe beIN SPORT LLC.

          I have no fear of being sued for one reason:

          Deep pockets usually do NOT sue shallower pockets unless a particular deep pocket is an idiot with no business sense, such as Charles Barkley, who is willing to sue someone with no chance of collecting a judgment just to prove a point.

          • Tim says:

            Guys who haave more money than God would be the ones most likely to sue you into bankruptcy, Ollie. Calling someone from an oil producing country “oily” is a play on words, but not libelous.

            Accusing someone of bribery is libelous.

            You obviously know as much about the law as you do about the EPL rights award process. Zero.

        • Tim says:

          Sadly, being a deranged, libelous lunatic living in a fantasy world is normal behavior for Oliver.

          About the only thing we can do is call him out on his bs at every step. Otherwise, many people who don’t know him or his history will actually believe his lies.

          • Oliver Tse says:

            Only message board idiots like yourself would loudly boast about sue someone knowing full well that you will have 0% chance of collecting enough of a judgment to pay court costs and other legal fees.

            Deep pockets do not sue shallow pockets unless the deep pocket were a total idiot who is willing to waste money in order to prove a point.

            Charles Barkley is such an idiot.

            Youssef and Nasser are NOT, as they prefer to keep their financial activities “private”.

  24. mark says:

    There are two different issues at stake, commentators for the games and studio analysts.

    For game commentory if you don’t like the commentators then use a computer and log on to Talk Sport Live and listen to their commentory. As for studio analysts, I personally don’t have time to watch as I usually start watching just before the game begins. I’m sure there must be something online if one wants game analysis.

  25. Josh says:

    Here is my reasonable hopes (not that it matters to me since I live in Canada)

    -Arlo White as presenter. NBC said they will use him. Makes sense to have him host coverage in US.
    -One American who played in EPL and one Brit ex-pat as studio analysts.
    -Use BT commentary for their 38 matches
    -Hire a British-based commentator and co-commentator to do the best games that aren’t on BT (including all on the main NBC network). Jon Champion would be my choice, if BT don’t hire him. If not then maybe Peter Drury or Derek Rae. Plenty of choices for co-comm.
    -Use PLP commentary for the rest of the matches

    • Oliver Tse says:

      Will TSN also take EPL coverage from BT/NBC whenever available now that TSN will no longer be able to take EPL from ESPN2 U.S.?

      NBC already takes NHL feeds from TSN, notably Wednesday nights at 10:30pm Eastern, and during the 1st round of the NHL playoffs at 10:30pm Eastern.

      NBC also takes CFL feeds from TSN.

      • Josh says:

        CFL is exclusively on ESPN3 now, I believe.

        TSN has a couple options. They could do their own broadcasts. They did so for Champions League the one year they sub-licensed it from Sportsnet. Wileman, de Vos and Butler have experience. They did Euro 2012 as well. TSN may want to own broadcasts to drum up excitement for the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

        Or they could go with whatever NBC does. The trend in Canada usually is to produce seperate coverage of European sports from the American networks. For example, TSN doesn’t use Speed’s coverage of F1, and probably won’t use NBC’s next year. Only exception really is the EPL broadcasts on TSN from ESPN.

        • Oliver Tse says:

          CFL has been on NBC Sports Network since “Labour Day”.

          The Grey Cup will be live on NBC Sports Network.

          NBC takes CFL match broadcasts from TSN straight through.

  26. dano328 says:

    Fox Soccer can salvage its weekend operation by purchasing the rights for the Bundesliga. After the last few UEFA rounds they could argue its a better league. I would be happy to see the top German clubs every weekend in addition to this massive new NBC coverage of EPL. And if the Bundesliga is forward thinking, they won’t do business with beIN. Germany needs distribution here, Fox needs a quality league.

    • Oliver Tse says:

      GOLTV has locked up U.S. rights to the Bundesliga through May 2015.

      beIN SPORT LLC is NOT interested in doing business with the Bundealiga and the EPL because both the Bundesliga and the EPL, as we now know with reasonable certainty, do NOT engage in the kind of “private banking” that beIN SPORT LLC executives (namely Youssef and Nasser) require of brokers/distributors/agencies before they are willing to purchase the media rights to a particular product at a deliberately inflated price.

      • Oliver Tse says:

        Furthermore, NewsCorp has locked up worldwide video rights to the Dutch Eredivisie for the next 12 seasons.

        That means lots of Ajax and PSV on FOX Sports 4 USA (the channel we now know as FOX Soccer Plus), FOX Sports 4 Australia, Sky Sport Deutschland, Sky Sport Italia, Sky Sports 4 U.K., FOX Sports+ Latin America, FOX Sports Brasil, and STAR Sports in Asia.

        • Oliver Tse says:

          I don’t see Time Warner Cable or Brighthouse keeping “FOX Soccer” in expanded basic without any EPL.

          FOX will need to convert FOX Soccer into “FOX Sports 3″ and load it up with PAC-12 and Conference USA college basketball on weeknights during the winter in order to be able to keep the channel in the expanded basic tier.

          (I am assuming that SPEED will be converted into FOX Sports 1, where Major League Baseball and all the college football that currently air on FX, will be headed. I am also assuming that FUEL TV will be rebranded FOX Sports 2 and will have plenty of college basketball as well.)

    • Tod says:

      I have the feeling that the Bundesliga will not get the contract it needs for commercial access to the U.S. market. Now is an especially good time for market penetration to take place, but alas, it seems that Bundesliga will not get it. meanwhile, EPL will be upgrading to almost 1/3rd of the U.S. total market… which is likely close to half of the total cable subscribers in the U.S. So, inevitably what will happen is that the U.S. population that becomes acquainted with European football in the coming 5 years will become attached to the EPL, La Liga, possibly Ligue 1 through PSG and Marseille, but not the Bundesliga. unfortunate because it means I will likely never visit a bar full of Dortmund fans; just a bunch of Man Utd turds.

  27. psyer says:

    In a perfect world where I could get any talent that are not retired, I would have in studio James Richardson as presenter with Gary Neville, Graeme Souness, and a writer like Michael Cox or Jonathan Wilson as pundits. Commentary will be Martin Tyler and Davie Provan.

    But the reasonable choices that may go to NBC, I would get Mark Bolton, formerly of Sky Sports’ La Liga presenter, as presenter and Ray Wilkins and writers like Michael Cox or Jonathan Wilson as pundits. Commentary will be Ian Darke, if contract is allowed, or someone like Kevin Keatings if he is willing to leave Sky Sports. If not Jon Champion is available with ESPN UK close to being gone and Stewart Robson as co-commentator.

    • psyer says:

      Would also like to add a referee to the studio coverage that may come in if questionable calls need to be interpreted. Someone like Graham Poll.

      • Globalgame says:

        Having a referee would be very interesting to add to the discussion table after games. After this weekend, there could easily have been a 2-3 hour show to analyse all the debatable decisions.

        • Kobashi says:

          Great call on wanting a former ref as a part of the broadcast. A former top level Premier League Ref would be great in terms of breaking down what is going through the refs mind when he has to make the big decisions.

  28. BA14 says:

    Why would most of these guys come to the US to be a pundit for the EPL? I’d rather be where the action is…England.

    • psyer says:

      If they actual do work with BT, they could technically borrow that studio and just hire people to work in London. And occasionally use the NBC Sports studio when the BT studio cannot be used with their local talent like Arlo White and Robbie Earle.

  29. Kobashi says:

    What about hiring one of the PLP guys like a Peter Drury or Steve Banyard? Drury might be the most underrated pxp guys in sports. Love Drury’s excitement.

    I doubt it will happen but I’d love to see the return of Pat Dolan to the US market as a the main studio sidekick. Dolan was must watch TV when Setanta had the rights to the Prem.

    Two guys that are still playing that are getting near the end of their careers who I think will end up being good in media are Rio Ferdinand and Phil Neville.

  30. Scrumper says:

    US audiences get more out of pundits who can read the game and describe what is really happening. Much of the game, such as changing team formations and player interchange, incidents that happen off the ball are out of our view so it’s interesting to hear an ex player provide decent insight. And the more critical their comments are the more a US viewer will learn. Stewart Robson is a great example. He will quickly highlight what a team is doing wrong and how they should correct. Trevor Francis is very good at reading a team’s changing formation etc.

    Unfortunately American commentators and pundits are caught up following the US model of broadcasters on show at American football and baseball etc. Everybody must be in a stunning suit, act positive and not allowed to say anything deemed “controversial” which makes it boring and unrealistic.

  31. this is great says:

    taylor twellman?


    • this is great says:

      seriously though, for the college football fans out there, is this guy not Jesse Palmer in a soccer booth? shut up already

  32. Sir Kev says:

    A lot of good suggestions have been tossed about.

    I agree that in a perfect world, we would have a return of the James Richardson / Pat Dolan team from the Setanta days. I love the Guardian podcast and I think that edge of humor and seriousness would appeal to potential new U.S. fans.

    I also like the idea of a roundtable type program featuring various writers and pundits that could be a weekly or daily show to build the audiences. It could be hosted by either Richardson or bring over Mark Chapman, “Chappers”, who I think is languishing on BBC Radio.

    As for game presenters and the usual suspects are quality, but I do not want a U.S. presenter just to try and appeal to U.S. audience. He/she must be quality.

  33. Tito says:

    As an American let me just say please keep Americans out of the booth NBC. They embarass me with their lack of knowledge and inability to pronounce anything. If you’re smart you’ll poach Darke and Macca from ESPN. Ugh. They’re gonna f&&k it up but a lot more coverage than fsc it sounds like.

  34. Blue Moon says:

    Tommy Smyth and Michelle Lissel.

  35. Al says:

    Ian Darke and Steve McManaman have been the best for this American ear. They seem to get it just right. What I don’t want to hear is the boring cadence of names of who touched the ball last nor the over the top nonsense of Ray Hudson. As in American football, the more I understand, the more I enjoy the intricacies of the game.

  36. Chidi Obi says:

    Please i want to know whether you will forecast about English football that will end in draw. Thanks.

  37. marshall yagan says:

    Having a ref in-studio is a great idea (obviously one with good TV presence)…good teaching tool for even the most savvy US fans of EPL

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