Martin Tyler, one of the most accomplished and respected television play-by-play commentators in the United Kingdom for over 35 years, will join ESPN for the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament in South Africa. Tyler, who has called matches in every FIFA World Cup since 1978, will be the lead play-by-play voice for ESPN’s exclusive English-language coverage in the United States, which will be available on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN360.com and ABC. He will make his ESPN telecast debut Friday, June 11, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. ET, the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Voted the “FA Premier League Commentator of the Decade” in 2003 by fans and a panel of football experts, Tyler has been with the London-based Sky Sports network since its launch in 1991. His arrival at Sky Sports coincided with the formation of Premiership football and Sky’s acquisition of the league’s broadcast rights. Tyler has led Sky’s critically-acclaimed soccer commentary team, calling some of the Premier League’s best matches.
“Martin Tyler is one of the top English-language soccer commentators in the world; his experience, authentic style and in-depth knowledge of the game will help elevate ESPN’s presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, informing and entertaining our viewers in the United States,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer, event production.
Tyler added: “As a regular visitor to the USA, I am well aware of the quality and tradition of ESPN, and I am delighted to be part of their World Cup coverage. My Sky Sports colleague Andy Gray talks warmly about his time on ESPN during Euro 2008 and I hope to be able to meet the challenge as well as he did.”
Martin Tyler biographical background:
Tyler graduated from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, and started in journalism, working on Marshall Cavendish’s Book of Football in 1971.
In 1973 Tyler moved into television working behind the camera on LWT’s “The Big Match,” ITV’s first popular soccer program in the UK. He started commentating for ITV’s Southern TV region and later served Yorkshire TV, Granada and the ITV network. Tyler called his first television match on ITV on Dec. 28, 1974, at The Dell, a second division clash between home team Southampton FC vs. Sheffield Wednesday.
Tyler’s profile at the different ITV channels increased as he earned professional acclaim for his play-by-play role. He was named to the network’s 1978 FIFA World Cup broadcast team and four years later, he led ITV’s coverage of the World Cup, calling all of the England team’s World Cup matches and the final – a 3-1 Italy victory over Germany in Madrid.
Throughout the 1980s, Tyler continued to establish himself as a prominent television voice in soccer, working the 1984 and 1988 European Championships and the 1986 FIFA World Cup. In 1990, he joined the British Satellite Broadcasting’s (BSB) sports channel, which became Sky Sports in 1991. Following Sky’s acquisition of the Premier League rights, Tyler, alongside analyst Andy Gray, a former Scottland National Team and English First Division player, have spearheaded what has become the generation’s standard for live soccer television commentary.
Tyler and Gray are also the voice-over commentators for the popular EA Sports FIFA video game series on PS3 and Xbox 360.
Tyler has also vast experience of broadcasting outside the USA covering the last five World Cups and European Championships and many of the major European Club Finals for SBS Australia.
ESPN Inc.’s 2010 FIFA World Cup in the United States
South Africa 2010 will be ESPN’s seventh FIFA World Cup and its most comprehensive. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will air all matches live and in high definition (June 11 – July 11, 2010). ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband network available in 41 million homes, will feature live English-language simulcasts of matches on ESPN and ESPN2.
Additionally, ESPN will present 2010 FIFA World Cup television studio programming from site in South Africa, offering U.S. sports fans the most comprehensive news and information coverage throughout the month-long soccer showcase. Studio coverage of the quadrennial global event will include SportsCenter segments, nightly World Cup Live, and pre-, halftime and post-match shows, with additional studio programming and World Cup-branded segments, totaling more than 65 hours of coverage, originating from two sets in and around Johannesburg.
ESPN Coverage of Previous FIFA World Cup Tournaments (Men’s):
Germany ’06 – All 64 matches live and in high definition
Korea/Japan ’02 – 58 ESPN and ESPN2 matches live (six tape-delayed broadcasts on ABC)
France ’98 – ESPN 27, ESPN2 23 and ABC Sports 14 – all 64 matches live
USA ’94 – ESPN, 41, and ABC, 11 – all 52 matches
Mexico ’86 – ESPN, 15 matches (U.S. cable television rights)
Spain ’82 – ESPN, 7 matches
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