ESPN has hired British commentators Jon Champion and Daniel Mann for its coverage of World Cup 2014, according to an AP report. The English duo will join Derek Rae, Ian Darke, Fernando Palomo and Adrian Healey on the commentator team that will be announcing the games live from Brazil.
For fans of the English Premier League, Champion and Mann are familiar voices that can often be found announcing games each weekend. During the 2010 World Cup, Champion worked for ITV while Mann announced many of the games for the 3D World Cup broadcasts, including those on ESPN’s 3D channel.
Mann made his Premier League commentating debut in 2010. Champion, meanwhile, has been commentating on English football games since the late ’80s. This will be Champion’s 7th World Cup, but his first announcing for a US network.
While Champion and Mann are joining the team of ESPN announcers, the familiar voices of Rae, Darke, Palomo and Healey will round out ESPN’s coverage of the tournament.
ESPN won’t be throwing Champion into the “deep end” with its World Cup coverage. The former ESPN UK commentator will announce the US-Azerbaijan friendly for ESPN on May 27. Champion will also be the commentator for four pre-season friendlies this summer that will air on ESPN.
The acquisition of Champion and Mann is another smart move by ESPN. It shows that the Worldwide Leader In Sports is focused on hiring qualified announcers who are skilled at what they do, and aren’t afraid to share their opinions (especially Champion).
For its coverage of World Cup 2014, here’s what we know so far in regards to the commentating teams:
• Ian Darke will commentate the opening game and final,
• For the group matches featuring the US Men’s National Team, Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman will be the commentators,
• For the games featuring England, Ian Darke and Steve McManaman will be the announcers,
• Fernando Palomo will announce the Mexico games,
• Jon Champion will commentate 9 first round games.
Commentator assignments for the second round to the semi-final will be announced at a later date.