Friday July 31st, 2015

Imagine Ian Darke calling Alabama-LSU or Michigan-Ohio State?
Well, it's not crazy as it sounds. During this week's SI Media Podcast, Darke recalled a conversation in South Africa after the 2010 World Cup in which an ESPN manager asked him if he'd consider calling college football for the network.
"The idea was floated in my general direction but it lasted no further than 15 seconds because I said, 'Look, I would be found out,'" Darke said. "I'm a soccer announcer. And that's what I am…I think you have to know your limitations. It is very difficult if it's not a sport you have lived with and is in your soul for the whole of your life, to pick it up and sound authentic. Because you are broadcasting to a new audience who know so much about it."
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SI Media Podcast: Featuring ESPN lead soccer broadcaster Ian Darke

Darke said he admired the attempt of Fox Sports announcer Gus Johnson to make a go of it in soccer because of how difficult the sport is to pick up. In Sept. 2014 Johnson stepped down as Fox's No. 1 soccer broadcaster after calling Champions League games for two years. Johnson told Sports Illustrated at the time that he called Fox Sports president Eric Shanks and explained that with a full schedule of college football and college basketball, he could not give soccer the attention it deserved and that viewers demanded of a lead broadcaster. Shanks then agreed to pull Johnson off the assignment.

Said Darke: "What Gus did was brave to take that on because if someone said to me: 'Go out and call NFL next week.' I would say no. Why? Because I'm going to get found out within a matter of seconds."
You can hear more of the podcast interview with Darke here or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. You can also view all of SI's podcasts here.

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