ESPN Still Getting It Wrong
ESPN’s radical decision to dump American commentators in favor of several British based ones has created much consternation among the supporters of the game stateside. Those reared on the domestic game and American commentating styles decried the move away from the traditional nationalistic fervor around the World Cup to a more objective based analysis provided by the likes of Ally McCoist, Efan Ekoku, and others.
The two American commentators remaining in ESPN’s lineup, British born Adrian Healey and former US Captain John Harkes were paired on Tuesday Night’s broadcast of US-Czech Republic friendly. While the duo did not have a terrible night, other aspects of ESPN’s limitations impeded the ability of the commentators to properly call the match.
Healey and Harkes attempted to provide something beyond the usual pro American commentary, but ESPN’s camera work and replay angles were shockingly poor. Neither commentator properly dissected the roots of the third and fourth Czech Republic goals which were created by unforced American giveaways leading to Czech Republic possession. Perhaps Harkes and Healey neglected to discuss the root of goals because ESPN provided no replays of Heath Pearce’s unforced poor clearance or Sacha Kljestan’s easy midfield giveaway.
ESPN’s commitment to providing the best World Cup coverage ever for the US audience is commendable. But, at the same time the camera work by ESPN when they produce the games is poor, despite the high quality of their production. Thankfully, for the World Cup, ESPN will be using the international feed which will give the likes of Martin Tyler and Ian Darke more material to work with.