London Guardian gives high marks to ESPN, and Andy Gray in particular, for Euro 2008 coverage.
The headline: “How America learned to love soccer
“ESPN’s savvy, Brit-inflected coverage of Euro 2008 did much to improve the sport’s image in the US”
That’s all real nice. But is it just me, or does anyone else find this treatment just a tad … tiresome? As if the underlying issue with every bit of coverage has to be about whether the game will ever catch on here?
And that we have to have guys with British (or Scottish or Irish) accents doing the commentary on the games that we’re lucky to have on TV?
Let the record reflect that we hated Dave O’Brien because he didn’t know a damn thing about soccer, not because he had an American accent. We didn’t warm to Marcelo Balboa because he just wasn’t all that insightful and apparently thought he was getting paid by the word.
I think it’s great that ESPN chose to broadcast the tournament – I didn’t have to shell out for PPV this time. But they did it because they think there’s money in it. Just like big American investors are gobbling up English clubs, because they think there’s money in that, as well. There, and here.
I prefer to look at it this way: ESPN didn’t screw it up, like they did at the last World Cup. They got mostly out of the way, like they do with their Champions League coverage, and let the game speak for itself.
Kind of like what Fox Soccer Channel (nee Fox Sports World) has been doing on my TV for the past 11 years.