Exclusive: Craig Burley, one of ESPN’s top soccer analysts, will be featured as one of the pundits on ESPN’s upcoming daily TV show named ESPN FC that will launch on ESPN2 beginning August 11, 2013.
Burley is well-known to many Premier League soccer fans as an expert co-commentator for ESPN, TWI/IMG and, in the past, Setanta Sports. The Scot is often very incisive and brutally honest when analyzing the game and sharing his expert opinions. Burley has also been an integral part of ESPN Press Pass, the daily show that will be replaced by ESPN FC.
“The landscape change here in the UK with the broadcasters is a big opportunity to move all my family to the United States,” said Burley, in an exclusive interview. “Having worked closely with [ESPN producer] Steve Palese for the last three to four years [on ESPN Press Pass], it’s been in the pipeline for quite a while. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The former Chelsea and Scotland midfielder discussed one aspect of what would be different about ESPN FC compared to ESPN Press Pass.
“When I have an argument with someone, I like having them sat next to me rather than [me being] in London. It’s actually been difficult with the live satellite link to interact in the way that you would want, so from that point, it’ll be better. It’s going to allow me to interact better with the other guys where we can have a debate.”
Burley added that it’s going to be a change for him instead of trekking across Great Britain commentating on games.
“I’m looking forward to working [in the States]. It’s going to be different for me than going to games and commentating. I’ve done that for the last seven of eight years now, so it’s going to be a nice change to be in the studio, and to be at home seven days a week.”
Asked about how he developed his co-commentating style, which can be brash at times, Burley said “In terms of my style, I never consciously go out of my way to ‘run people up the wrong way.’ I just feel that there are too many pundits that are not ready to make the hard and fast decisions, and say what they have to say when the time comes. And that’s something that I’ve never been frightened of doing. Listen, I’ve fallen out with ex-players, ex-managers and some people, but as long as I can back it up, there’s no problem.
“I might not be everyone’s favorite, but I will definitely not shirk away from the responsibility to call something the way I see it.”
Burley is looking forward to life in America. “It was a big decision to move. ESPN is a massive company. I’ve got a great opportunity and I’m going to give this job absolutely 100 per cent. I’m looking forward to living in the States.”
ESPN FC will utilize ESPN’s experts to analyze all of the major leagues and national teams from around the world including the Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga, La Liga, USMNT, England national team, South American teams and more. The show will be hosted by Max Bretos and Dan Thomas.
ESPN FC launches on August 11 on ESPN2 at 10pm ET. The show will be shown on ESPN2 weeknights beginning at 5:30pm ET and Sunday nights beginning at midnight. No show will air on Saturdays.