ESPN Gets Mixed, But Mostly Positive, Reviews For UK EPL Debut

Monday, August 17, 2009

It was a huge undertaking to get a UK ESPN up and running in a few short months, and after their debut in England, ESPN is getting some rather interesting reviews. None are really that bad, and there are a few that are rather glowing. Here's a sampling...

The Guardian: "ESPN, who did not get where they are today by refusing to accept this reality, launched its Premier League coverage with Chelsea v Hull on opening day, but where Setanta had parked its tanks on Sky's lawn, ESPN, part owned by Disney, kept its ice-cream vans harmlessly round the corner from Sky's patch.

Its pictures came from Sky cameras, and in the presentation, there was scarcely a whiff of innovation. This is extremely annoying for people like me, used to getting three snappy paragraphs out of an Andy Townsend Tactics' Truck or some similar gimmick. Steven Berkoff was about all there was to laugh at on ESPN, filmed on a stage somewhere, declaiming about the importance of football, in the style of Henry V on the eve of Agincourt, but without entirely losing sight of the Hovis advert. "This is who we are. This is what we are," thundered the great actor. "This is bollocks," was the unworthy response, I am afraid, from my sofa."

The Telegraph: "It was hard, though, not to scoff at ESPN Axis, a half-time analysis gizmo which was essentially a slow-motion replay. Whatever next? A little clock in the corner of the screen?

However, the battle for armchair season-ticket-holders is ultimately won and lost in the commentary box.

There ESPN deployed another ex-BBC stalwart, Jon Champion, and renowned Toffeeman Joe Royle in a standard 1-1 formation. This workmanlike pairing at least offered respite from Sky Sports' Andy "maake noo mistaaake" Gray, whose accent gets increasingly Scottish at moments of arousal, and Martin "Martin" Tyler, who has taken to bellowing "and IT'S LIVE" prior to every kick-off. Of course IT'S LIVE, Martin. That's why we're watching.

So, at the end of the day, a promising debut for ESPN, who showed some classy touches and should have what it takes to compete at this level."
To get such positive reviews, with only seven weeks to prepare, is a very good sign for ESPN in the UK. The "Leader" has also added a slate of games for us folks in the U.S. to watch. Here are the games we'll get to check out this season in the States....

Sat., Aug. 15th

Chelsea vs. Hull City (ESPN2, 7:40am)

Sat., Aug. 22th

Wigan Athletic vs. Manchester United (ESPN2, 9:55am)

Mon., Aug. 24th

Liverpool vs. Aston Villa (ESPN2, 2:55pm)

Sat., Aug. 29th

Chelsea vs. Burnley (ESPN2, 7:40am)

Sat., Sept. 12th

Liverpool vs. Burnley (ESPN2, 9:55am)

Sat., Sept. 19th

Burnley vs. Sunderland (ESPN2, 7:40am)

Sat., Sept. 26th

Portsmouth vs. Everton (ESPN2, 7:40am)

Mon., Sept. 28th

Manchester City vs. West Ham (ESPN2, 2:55pm)

Initially, ESPN is living in the past and Andy Gray is present and incorrect (Guardian)
Premier League opening weekend success for ESPN (Telegraph)

Posted by Awful Announcing at 11:23 AM


It's worth mentioning that for the USA viewers, ESPN has 48 games this season, not just the ones listed.

Ted Hill said...
Aug 17, 2009, 12:31:00 PM  

Well...when the game in the UK ends 6-1 you're not going to get the best out of them.

TJX said...
Aug 17, 2009, 12:44:00 PM  

Everton 1, Arsenal 6 -- a wipeout that ESPN2 fortunately didn't air in the States.

The Deuce gave us Chelsea 2, Hull 1. Didier Drogba won it in second-half stoppage time with his second goal of the day.

Anonymous said...
Aug 17, 2009, 6:46:00 PM  
Anonymous said...
Sep 26, 2009, 5:27:00 AM  

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