FOX Sports tried to hire Ian Darke to be one of its commentators for the FIFA World Cup 2018, according to a report in The Big Lead.
The Big Lead reports that several sources confirmed that FOX Sports tried to do a swap with ESPN to procure Darke for the World Cup 2018. The website reported that “Between May and the announcement of [Katie Nolan’s] new show a couple weeks ago, multiple sources tell The Big Lead that Simmons’ attempt to acquire Nolan sparked trade talks. FOX, we’ve heard, requested the ability to utilize acclaimed soccer play-by-play man Ian Darke — provided that he was amenable to the terms of the deal — to bolster their coverage for the 2018 World Cup.”
ESPN would have agreed to the swap but changed its mind when FOX Sports wanted NASCAR/college football/NFL reporter Marty Smith to be part of the trade.
However, The Big Lead adds that the door has not been completely shut on Darke joining FOX’s World Cup coverage.
Ian Darke has been the one soccer commentator in the US who has been the star of the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup tournaments. His memorable commentary of the USA win against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup is still one of the most famous calls in US soccer. Darke is currently commentating league games in England for BT Sport, but now that FOX Sports has the TV rights in the US for World Cups 2018, 2022 and 2026, the likelihood of Darke being interested in working for FOX Sports is growing.
If FOX Sports can acquire Darke for World Cup 2018, that’ll be a huge boost for the network that is badly in need of quality talent despite the recent hirings of expert commentator John Strong and analyst Alexi Lalas.