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ESPN Wins U.S. TV Rights to Euro 2012 and Euro 2016

ESPN has won the bidding for the U.S. TV and Internet rights to the upcoming Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 tournaments according to the Associated Press. ESPN has the rights to broadcasting the matches in all languages.

Exact details are limited right now, but ESPN plans on broadcasting all of the matches across it’s platform on ESPN, ESPN2,, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio and ESPN Mobile.

During the last European Championship in 2008, ESPN did a spectacular job of broadcasting the event and it helped give the broadcaster an idea of the potential of the sport in the United States. ESPN followed up its success with Euro 2008 by launching the most impressive and comprehensive soccer broadcast in the history of the United States, namely the 2010 World Cup.

One of the reasons that ESPN’s coverage of Euro 2008 was so successful was due to commentators Derek Rae and Andy Gray. A lot has changed since then. Rae moved to the United Kingdom to work with ESPN UK. And Andy Gray was sacked by Sky Sports after making sexist remarks. However, the formula in Euro 2008 of hiring talented commentators gave ESPN, I believe, an idea of how to win over the masses, so don’t be surprised if you see ESPN hiring some of the top talent in Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 to lead the commentating of the tournament.

Which commentators, co-commentators and pundits would you like to see ESPN hire for Euro 2012? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.

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  1. Steve

    May 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Please, please, please! Anybody but the dreadful Tommy Smyth who was co-commentator on the Spain/S Korea friendly today with the implication being that he’ll be involved in Euro 2012. OMG – are ESPN totally tone deaf to the negative feedback over the years on this clownish leprechaun!

  2. Eamonn O'Sullivan

    May 26, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Martin Tyler and George Hamilton are the two best commentators in the sport. I assume that both are under contract to their repective networks? If not you could not get better.

    • Paul

      May 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      Tyler is unable to cover the Euros in the UK because he no longer works for ITV. I think he may be doing it for Australian TV again?

  3. lebowski

    May 7, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Ray Hudson should be cloned and used for every single match. I just don’t understand how people don’t like him. He’s over the top for sure, but that’s what makes him so fantastic. And throw Phil Schoen in there too. I love the banter and bickering between the 2 of them in the GolTV La Liga match commentaries.

  4. Jake Shepherd

    May 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Martin Tyler, Ian Darke

  5. mihai s

    April 25, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Steve McManaman and any other commentator who’s played professionally. They have the best and most pertinent input on the play.

  6. cipi

    April 20, 2012 at 4:34 am

  7. Kwonokay

    February 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    i could like to see ESPN bring back Derek Rae to do their commentary for the EPL games and the Euro 2012 games also……he is the best commentator thus far in the business….if u are not a soccer fan, listening to Derek Rae will make you love and respect the great game of soccer….or the english commentor frm GOLtv (R.H)…..these two guys will give espn a much better rating….

  8. joed

    January 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    does ESPN have a tv schedule yet?

    • The Gaffer

      January 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Not yet. Still a long way to go.

      But most of the Euro 2012 games will be shown at 9am PT/Noon ET and 11:45am PT/2:45pm ET times.

      The Gaffer

  9. christopher

    December 21, 2011 at 2:45 am

    As long as I do not have to see Lalas anywhere near this tournament or in the studio I will be happy. I love ESPN’s coverage of the last euro and world cup, but Lalas leaves a bad taste in my mouth lol. What an arrogant man!

  10. Super Reds!

    December 13, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Macca and Ian Darke are clearly the best match up. Macca’s past doesn’t hurt either!

    • Justin

      January 26, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      I completely agree. I love their EPL commentary. Always good for information and humor. Their patter is unmatched!!

  11. spursfan

    February 2, 2011 at 1:31 am

    A name that I don’t see that I know is available is Barry Davies (retired from BBC). He would be awesome! And just for some fun and too really get the Yanks up to speed – how about Stuart Hall?? Even if its just for his match summary. But whatever they do, no US announcers (this is the Euro Champs), especially that obnixious red head who played for Parmesian cheese way back when, and tried to run an MLS club into the ground. Can’t remember his name??????

    • The Gaffer

      February 2, 2011 at 6:21 am

      Barry Davies would be great, but he’s 73 and retired. Stuart Hall would be wonderful but I’m not sure most Americans would like him. It seems most Americans don’t like Ray Hudson as a commentator, and if they don’t like Ray, they’d hate Stuart Hall. Personally I love them both.

      The Gaffer

  12. Stacy Richardson

    February 2, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I would like to see both Ian Darke and Martin Tyler on the Euro 2012 coverage, and I would also like to see the pick of the qualifiers.

    You know, there ARE a couple of good American soccer announcers, but they’re tied up with other sports. I am speaking of Bob Carpenter of the Washington Nationals, and Brad Sham, the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys. Are any other good American announcers out there whom we haven’t heard on ESPN in recent years?

    • R2Dad

      February 2, 2011 at 10:35 am

      Have to disagree. Putting a non-soccer announcer in the booth is a handicap, since they don’t know the game. Great for those new to the game since it’s someone they recognize, but wrt analysis and play-by-play, it’s a mistake. I think Costas is a fabulous talent but wouldn’t want him commentating on a footie match.

  13. Sacto Blues

    February 1, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Martin Tyler is the only choice for the Euros.

  14. jose

    February 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    since im politically incorect, please bring back gray but this time let him say what he wants.

    • SSReporters

      February 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      ESPN should hire him for the Women’s World Cup.

  15. Jason

    February 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Darke for sure will be there. I doubt you will have an American voice for the Euros. I look to see guys like Roberto Martinez there though. Still though I’m not a big follower of international football overall. Other than when the USA has a meaningful match. What is the deal with the Gold Cup on TV next year by the way?

    • The Gaffer

      February 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      Jason, I believe FSC has the rights to the Gold Cup.

      The Gaffer

  16. Ryan

    February 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Ian Darke is the man!

  17. Matt

    February 1, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I totally agree. Darke brings great excitement to the commentary unlike the British feed that FSC uses. I fear that ESPN will use Alexi Lalas for the American voice; don’t care for the girrafe.

  18. vermaelen5

    February 1, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Great news.

    I think Ian Darke’s done an excellent job for Saturday EPL games. Also, an American voice would not be a bad idea at all. (Harkes, Dellacamera)

    • SSReporters

      February 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      Harkes isn’t even good enough for US games.

      “There you see Michael Bradley, does well, good first touch, tests the keeper, all starts with good distribution from the back.”

      • R2Dad

        February 1, 2011 at 6:29 pm

        Agreed. I don’t understand why there needs to be some american commentator at all. Rae is good, as is Macca.

  19. CTBlues

    February 1, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I wish CONCACAF would get there act together and get a respectable tournament going like the Euros. It would be something if the North and South American confederations could put a tourney together to see who goes to the Confed Cup and that would actually fun to watch unlike the joke they call the Gold Cup.

    • Dave C

      February 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

      South American already has a perfectly respectable tournament.
      Concacaf on the other hand, has an inherent problem – how can you make a genuinely exciting tournament with the nations in that area – two decent teams, and then a bunch of minows making up the numbers.

      Perhaps they could combine North/Central and South America, have some form of qualifiers, and then have a single tournament for the whole of the Americas.

      • CTBlues

        February 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

        I agree man and to help with that minow problem I think they should combine all Caribbean Islands as one team like they do for international cricket.

  20. Kobashi

    February 1, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I read in one of the releases ESPN was trumpeting they had the rights to some of the teams qualifying games in the build up to the European Championships. I wonder if ESPN will decide to air any of the qualifiers on ESPN2 this time around in trying to build up interest for 2012. I know ESPN3 will have a big menu of games but I’m really curious if any of the better games will air on English TV. Deportes will have games on TV. I would really like to see ESPN offer an English Language option by making use of the SAP button on Deportes since it’s there and why not make use of it for games they have rights to in English that aren’t on TV? Wouldn’t that involve just flipping a switch or two if they have the technology to do so at their fingertips?

    I really think Fox should be taken to task yesterday for not having Transfer Deadline Day Show outside of what aired on Sky Sports News. One of the more interesting days of the year and Fox decided viewers would rather watch a repeat of Serie A game from the weekend. Look at ESPN who is doing 10 hours of live coverage on ESPN U of High School Football Signing Day. Fox couldn’t produce an hour long show talking about transfers and such? It is amazing that Fox runs the channel like it ‘s a small potato operation especially when you look at what ESPN does with their sports properties.

    • soonerscotty

      February 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      “Fox should be taken to task yesterday for not having Transfer Deadline Day Show outside of what aired on Sky Sports News”

      Cannot agree more!! While I was following the craziness on the internet I could not believe FSC wasn’t covering the deadline. And I was really disappointed when Sky Sports News went off the air at 11am mountain time. Heck, they could’ve just run the Sky feed all day and it would’ve been brilliant!

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