Finally, ESPN finds a World Cup play-by-play announcer
The announcement that Tyler will serve as ESPN's lead play-by-play voice
Of course, that's exactly the audience you want to reach, because ESPN has long stated it wants every kind of audience.
"I think I've been acquired for what I am and not what I might become," Tyler told SI.com. "The thing that I'd liken it to is what we have in reverse over here. We wouldn't put UK-based commentary on the NBA or NFL. The description of an American sport comes from American voices, and I think maybe those who have made the decision about me would like to get, if you like, a more global feel to what is a global game. Of course, the words are only incidental to the pictures in television. But you can help by pushing the odd phrase in the right direction."
Tyler has worked for the London-based Sky Sports network since its launch in 1991 and has called many of the Premier League's biggest matches. Since Sky does not own broadcast rights to the World Cup, Tyler has often contracted with other networks, including calling the last five World Cups for SBS Australia. (Here is Tyler
What can U.S. viewers expect from Tyler?
"First, I will try to identify the players correctly for them," he said. "I will try to give relevant information at the right time about the players so that they will be more informed, and along with my co-commentator, I will try to interpret the events in the context of a particular match. Of course, I will also try to put into context the history of game. You expect the very high standards of the players at the World Cup, and I expect to be judged by the very high standards of the American audience."
Tyler said ESPN is considering having him call the U.S. team's games in South Africa, though much will depend on the World Cup draw on Dec. 4. No matter which group Tyler ends up calling, U.S. viewers are the big winner here. His hire is the equivalent of the D.C. United franchise acquiring
• Having spent last year on the campus of the University of Michigan for a journalism fellowship, and having worked as a student journalist many moons ago, I'm well aware of the pressure athletic departments can foist on student newspapers, whether that pressure is overt or subtle. So props to the student journalists at the University of
• If you find yourself trapped in the car on Sunday night or simply want a different feel from the NBC
• Last week's
• This column has praised NBC's
• It's always fun to focus on the ridiculous and hyperbolic musings of the NFL Network's
"Jim, you are not a head coach in the NFL. High school? Definitely. You can coach in high school, you can coach my son in high school anytime. Ankle-biters [youth football teams, we guess] for sure. You're a very compassionate guy. You are almost still, 'Gee whiz, aw-shucks,' and you are 21 games into your career. You come out of these games, these crippling and mind-boggling losses, and if I didn't know better, you could almost think that you won the game."
• "NBC announcers saying that Notre Dame is closing the gap with college football's elite. Ugh. Also are touting Clausen for Heisman. Lame."
• "The other night my wife ate at the Four Seasons in Houston while I ate at Five Guys in Mooresville. So I won 5-4."