First rumored by The Daily Mail, then confirmed here, then with more inside info by yours truly, ESPN’s new signing Ian Darke has been confirmed and you can hear him tomorrow at the ripe time of 7:45 AM ET!
Top British sportscaster Ian Darke, one of the lead commentators during ESPN’s critically acclaimed coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will join the network as its lead soccer voice in the United States, it was announced today by Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer, ESPN Event Production.
Darke will be the primary play-by-play voice on ESPN’s U.S. networks for Barclays Premier League matches, the U.S. National Teams (Men’s and Women’s), marquee Major League Soccer events, 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He joins ESPN after commentating on Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches for the past 18 years. Darke was widely praised for his work on ESPN during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, especially for his commentating on the U.S. Men’s National Team matches vs. Slovenia, Algeria and Ghana.
“Having Ian Darke as our year-round signature voice for soccer programming reaffirms ESPN’s commitment to elevate our overall coverage of the sport in the U.S.,” said Drake. “Ian’s experience, authenticity and passion for the sport, which were evident throughout the World Cup, will resonate with our viewers, who have come to expect top-quality soccer commentary from ESPN.”
Darke added: “I am delighted and excited to be joining such a polished and talented team as ESPN. It was wonderful to be calling the USA’s dramatic World Cup campaign for American audiences – and I am flattered to be asked back on a permanent basis.”
Bold emphasis is mine.
JP Dellacamera seems to have been booted out of US Men’s games. To put it simply, JP isn’t bad, but he’s hardly great and nowhere near Ian Darke’s class. When he and John Harkes are yapping over LA Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls it’ll just speed up the Darke fix.
Since he is the lead voice, I can only assume he will be the #1 commentator in 2014 ahead of Martin Tyler, who will be 68 and likely reaching “past his prime” mode. Excellent news and I can’t wait for Darke to commentate tomorrow morning, when Chelsea and Man City each pick up 9 injuries en route to a 0-0 draw.
Quote from the ESPN press release