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ESPN’s US TV Coverage Plans for FIFA World Cup 2014

espn world cup 20141 ESPNs US TV Coverage Plans for FIFA World Cup 2014

Now that the 2013 Confederations Cup has ended, the focus for ESPN is on their next major tournament, which is the 2014 FIFA World Cup that will be held in Brazil next summer.

Sport Illustrated writer Richard Deitsch recently got the exclusive on all of the glorious details of ESPN’s World Cup 2014 coverage.

Here’s what we know so far:

1. All 64 matches will be broadcast live and in HD on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and WatchESPN.

2. More than 280 original hours of soccer coverage will air across ESPN platforms from June 12-July 13, 2014.

3. Next year’s coverage will also include a new 90-minute postgame (World Cup Live) show after each match. In 2010, it was a 30-minute show.

4. ESPN will air World Cup Primetime, which will include highlights from matches of the day and condense them into a two-hour show.

5. Segments of SportsCenter and ESPN FC, the new daily soccer show launching this August, will broadcast from Brazil.

6. ESPN haven’t confirmed the talent that will be commentating the games, but it’s likely to feature Martin Tyler, Ian Darke, Derek Rae and Adrian Healey.

7. The same applies to studio talent, but don’t be surprised if you see the World Cup 2010 studio team returning that will include Michael Ballack, Roberto Martinez, Steve McManaman and Alexi Lalas, as well as studio host Bob Ley.

8. ESPN’s studio that they’ll be using for the tournament will be set up at a resort in Rio. ESPN is building two studios at the location — one for ESPN and the other for ESPN Deportes. It promises to be a beautiful location, right on the beach with a view of Copacabana Beach as a backdrop.

9. ESPN will be working with ESPN Films on projects for the World Cup, as well as bringing back its video vignette series entitled I Scored A Goal In The World Cup Final.

This will be the last World Cup tournament ESPN will be broadcasting in the foreseeable future before FOX Sports broadcasts the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments.

Overall, ESPN is copying the format from the World Cup 2010 that worked so well for the network where they averaged 3.2 million viewers per game.

ESPN’s motto for 2014 seems to be if it ain’t broke, why fix it? For soccer fans, that’s wonderful news. And especially given the practically flawless coverage of the 2013 Confederations Cup by ESPN, it’s going to be another wonderful summer next year of first-rate TV coverage.


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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 →

28 Responses to ESPN’s US TV Coverage Plans for FIFA World Cup 2014

  1. Matt says:

    Enjoy this while you can…for in 2018 it’s Gus Johnson…

    Hey, any idea who has the rights to the 2017 Confed Cup?

    • Christopher Harris says:

      FOX Sports has the rights to the 2017 and 2021 Confederations Cup tournaments.

      The Gaffer

  2. SeminoleGunner says:

    Good to see some signs that ESPN is going to put on another good show.

    With the loss of their World Cup rights, as well as the small Premier League license they had, I was a little afraid they might see little to gain from a big investment in 2014.

  3. Flyvanescence says:

    Its not flawless coverage if it includes “analysis” from Alexi Lalas.

  4. Leafsfan1967 says:

    The projected ESPN coverage is about as good as it gets.

    Are we REALLY going to be stuck with Gus (I don’t know football) Johnson after this? Please, please, please say it isn’t so….

    • SeminoleGunner says:

      I’m fearing the worst. FOX’s initial offerings in almost every sport have drawn criticism.

  5. AJ says:

    I recently read that someone asked Gus off-hand why he was doing soccer? His alleged response worries me:

    “I had to take it.”

    So this won’t be a Gus driven thing. Anyway, ESPN looks to be going out with a bang!

  6. Huw Roma says:

    I’m dreading the Fox coverage even five years out.

  7. Smokey Bacon says:

    Hopefully ESPN raises the bar so high, Fox will be embarrassed into doing the right thing when they take the baton in 2018. A lot of things can change between now and then. The clowns who gave us Gus may be long gone taking Gus, Barton and Wynalda with them.

    • Christopher Harris says:

      Don’t forget that FOX’s coverage of the World Cup begins in the summer of 2015 when they’ll be televising the Women’s World Cup, which will give us our first indication of where they are with their coverage. ESPN has done a fantastic job with the Women’s World Cup in previous tournaments, so it’ll be a good barometer.

      The Gaffer

  8. John Culea says:

    Ian Darke, Ian Darke, Ian Darke. There is never enough of him.
    Martin Tyler. If I never hear him again, it will be too soon.

  9. Eplnfl says:

    We can only hope ESPN stays involved in soccer after 2014. They are still the leader in American sports and their policy is to promote what they show. Without some major soccer coverage on their line-up they may will overlook soccer as they do hockey.

  10. CTBlues says:

    Who has the rights to the future Euros Tournies?

  11. Muley555 says:

    Any word on what time the games will be? Assuming similar to confed cup which seems a little later on the day US time than the last World Cup.

  12. Pakapala says:

    That is great news. ESPN is going with a bang in term of World Cup coverage. That’s all good for us fans in the US.

  13. Super Moose says:

    What happened to the compilation at the end of every tourney? Was it the crappy Justin Timberlake one? If so they need to bring back U2 or Coldplay. The Euro 12 one was fantastic.

  14. Jonathan Bell says:

    Thanks for the info. It would also be interesting to many of us to know what they will be doing with ESPN3 during the cup, if anything.
    And will replays be there on WatchESPN also?

  15. Shawn D says:

    Probably will see the same play by play guys from 2010 Tyler, Darke, Healey and Rae. Most of the color commentators from 2010 though are working for other networks now. Darke will likely primarily work with Taylor Twellman, Healey with Kasey Keller. Not sure who Tyler and Rae will work with.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno – the “El Tri on ESPN” team call Mexican National Team matches.

  16. Brandi says:

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    on regular basis to obtain updated from most up-to-date information.

  17. is brazil ready for the world cup says:

    Coming back again to the quarterfinal match of 1986 between Argentina and England which Argentina received 2 targets
    to one particular, the very first aim was coined by the world media as the “Hand of God”.
    This distinct aim transpired in the sixth minute of the second fifty percent from a miscued hook by left midfielder Steve
    Hodge attempting to distinct the ball which only went to the penalty spot and in the path of Maradona and goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
    This is in which a aim was scored by Maradona with his remaining fist (which should have been
    deemed a Hand ball , a foul in Soccer).

  18. Bryan says:

    Speaking of ESPN, listening to the pairing of Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman on the U.S.-Azerbaijan game was like listening to Cary Grant paired with Opie Taylor.

    • Flyvanescence says:

      Remember people ran Jon Harkes out of town as ESPN’s USA colour guy?
      Only for him to be replaced by Twellman. Annoying as Harkes could be with his catchphrases and overused cliches, Twellman is definitely worse.

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