ESPN Score With Calcio Coverage

Three or four months ago I suggested that ESPN were missing a trick when it came to their Italian coverage. They had the rights to the games but they decided to go with just showing live games with no preview/review coverage and a midweek type Euro-goals highlights programme.

So on twitter I said by simply having a show presented by James Richardson with a couple of guests including Gabriele Marcotti plus having time in the show for goals from the latest round of fixtures then ESPN could be on to a winner. They in my mind would be a bigger challenger to Sky and their La Lig coverage during the weekend.

Now for the past two weeks ESPN have went with full blown Sunday night Serie A coverage. This weekend they even had James Richardson back on TV doing Serie A. It has been great, they even had him hold up the latest edition of La Gazetta dello Sport. Those of us that used to be glued watching Football Italia were probably a little bit too happy with this simple ploy to get us onside with the new tv project. We might have felt a bit used but in a really good way.

James is the ideal host for such a show but I wouldn’t mind seeing Mark Chapman from time to time on there just to keep the novelty fresh but he does present the show that directly follows the Sunday game so that might be that bit too much.

For the past two shows Gab Marcotti has been on and been great. Again I would suggest too much of a good thing can lead to boredom and people being critical. So lets not see the same guests on every single week. That is not a slight on Gab, far from it as he has done extremely well but TV needs to learn change is good and keeps things from getting stale, just look at Soccer AM and MOTD for examples of stale TV football shows. Plus we have very good writers who know their Italian football in the UK, off the top of my head their is James Horncastle, Adam Digby (who I know ESPN have used over the phone), Giancarlo Rinaldi, Paolo Bandini, Andy Brassell and Mina Rzouki. Now these people may not be interested but if they were then you could have them on rotation and have one of them on once a month. That way ESPN can see who is good and who may not work.

A former pro will always have a look in on a live game panel. So far we have had Paul Ince and Mark Hateley. Both former Serie A players. After seeing the two, I would suggest Ince hasn’t watched enough Italian calcio since he left Inter and he looked at his notes far too much. Hateley did a really good job and was very informative especially when talking about attacking plays. Although I would suggest that he keeps away from the word ‘dynamism’.

Again I think they should keep mixing this role up a bit. They could have Roberto Di Matteo when Chelsea are not playing on a Sunday, Gianfranco Zola when he is in town, Tony Dorigo or could even have Roberto Mancini or David Platt from time to time.

On commentary they have a great choice between Derek Rae, Jim Proudfoot and Tim Caple to pick from. That said I have been disappointed by the co-commentator choices of Craig Burley and Iain Dowie who offer very little insight to the Italian game and the players. I would like to see Hateley and maybe Dorigo attempt this role more.

I know I have talked a lot about rotation. Here is the reasons why… Just look at Sky and the whole Richard Keys and Andy Gray affair. They were there so long that that they got complacent and they felt untouchable. I suggested at the time that Sky should, from that moment on, rotate presenters and they have and it works well. Match of the Day is stale now because not enough new faces are getting a chance to work on the main show, rotation means less chance of boredom setting in on a programme. If you get a decision wrong at the start of the season its easier to change when you work on a rotation situation. For me Scott Minto doesn’t work well as a presenter and SKY’s La Liga coverage has been effected because they have went with him and are now stuck with him for the season.

Now I have to say a big well done to ESPN for the great start to their new prolonged Italian programme. No point having the coverage and not making the most of it. Its far from perfect but its a very good start and that has to be applauded. Should it work then could see the same with the Bundesliga?

Since this article has went up ESPN’s Derek Rae has told me ESPN started a new Bundesliga show similar in style this past weekend. Thank you for that Derek.

8 Responses to “ESPN Score With Calcio Coverage”

  1. This is pretty debased stuff

  2. Pretty rich coming from someone commenting as Anon. Plus not explaining why you feel its debased makes no sense either.

    Its an article applauding a TV station for covering football in the right way.

    Why should I feel free to comment? Well I work in media and plan on starting my on Sports Production Company in the near future. So I have experience in this field and have written a few articles on this subject matter.

  3. Ah your own Sports Production Company, and with capitals, that explains it all then. Self-serving tripe.

  4. Least you remembered the full stop this time, well done.

    Self serving? I have done my on blog videos for a year and I have written sports broadcasting articles before which were well received.

    My name is on the blog, my arguments and opinions are attributed to me. Whereas you are hiding behind being Anon and keep coming back to read more.

  5. Meanwhile, in the States, Fox are getting rid of the fantastic international commentary feed of Paul Visca, Richard Whittle and Max Patrick for former studio host Christian Miles, who demonstrably knows nothing of calcio, and I question whether he knows much about the sport in general.

    Things like that make me wish ESPN would just create their own soccer network here and just use a lot of the great ESPN UK content. I can dream…sigh…

  6. Very interesting move from ESPN. By any chance, do we know how much ESPN is paying for these rights ?

  7. I have seen some dodgy American feeds for games & its a shame because the US fans are a lot smarter than the networks give them credit for.

    Didio – sorry I have no idea how much these rights cost ESPN.

  8. La decisione-Up Post! La tua saggezza accettata è grande. Grazie per tenermi informato. Per ulteriori informazioni, sarò in connessione.

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