ESPN has announced its lineup of talent that will be bringing Euro 2016 to US television this summer.
The biggest surprise is that ESPN will feature Kate Markgraf as the first female co-commentator in the US to ever call a top-tier global men’s tournament. The 1999 Women’s World Cup champion made her debut during ESPN’s 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany and has become one of the leading analysts for women’s soccer in the United States.
Meanwhile, the network has announced that its lead play-by-play commentators will be Ian Darke (English-language) and Fernando Palomo (Spanish-language) for the month-long event in France that will feature many of the world’s best national teams, Friday, June 10 through Sunday, July 10.
Darke, who recently signed an ESPN extension, will be joined by English-language voices Jon Champion, Derek Rae and Adrian Healey, all of whom were members of ESPN’s play-by-play team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. ESPN soccer voices Max Bretos and Mark Donaldson are also key members of the commentator team.
English-language match co-commentators include Taylor Twellman, Steve McManaman, Stewart Robson, Alejandro Moreno, Tommy Smyth, Paul Mariner, and former U.S. Women’s National Team defender Markgraf.
Palomo, the leading Spanish-language voice of European soccer and host of Fuera de Juego, ESPN Deportes’ top-rated soccer studio program, leads the ESPN Deportes team. Other play-by-play commentators include versatile ESPN play-by-play voice Ricardo Ortiz; Omar Orlando Salazar, Emilio Fernando Alonso and Jorge Ramos. The ESPN Deportes team for UEFA Euro 2016 represents the best collection of seasoned soccer voices on Spanish-language television in the U.S.
Spanish-language match analysts are Tato Noriega, Argentina World Cup champion Mario Kempes, Roberto Gomez Junco, Ricardo Mayorga and Hernan Pereyra.
The commentator teams will call a significant number of matches from stadium sites in France:
· Darke, who will be paired with Steve McManaman and Taylor Twellman during the tournament, depending on the match, will call all his games from France beginning with the France vs. Romania opener on June 10 (2:30 p.m. ET). He will also call the Final outside Paris on July 10;
· The English-language team of Jon Champion and Stewart Robson will also call its assigned matches in France;
· Palomo and Noriega will be in France during the tournament and will call 16 matches, including the opening match and the final. Ricardo Ortiz and Mario Kempes will be on-site in France to call two quarterfinals and one semifinal in France.
· The other games will be called off the monitor by ESPN’s commentators (mentioned above).
ESPN’s three television networks – ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes – will combine to carry more than 200 hours of live coverage of UEFA EURO 2016 including all 51 matches live on the English-language networks and 45 on ESPN Deportes, the most comprehensive presentation to-date of the European football championship in the United States.
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