There's been a storm brewing over the last few days about rumors that longtime ESPN soccer announcer JP Dellacamera wouldn't be part of the network's World Cup TV commentary team.
ESPN finally confirmed today that JP Dellacamera won't be on television, but he will be the lead announcer on ESPN Radio's coverage of the tournament.
The four TV announcers are, officially: Martin Tyler, Derek Rae, Adrian Healey and Ian Darke. Rae and Healey have been with ESPN for a long time, while Tyler and Darke come from Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. Tyler is Sky's lead soccer announcer, while Darke is a regular commentator on English Premier League games.
In addition to Dellacamera not being on TV, this is a big deal because all four play-by-play guys are British. It's a huge reversal from past World Cups, when American voices called games for the sake of having American voices call games. This led to Jack Edwards and Dave O'Brien being the lead announcers in 2002 and 2006 respectively, and neither worked well calling soccer.
(Which I'm sure some of you will say is being polite about it, especially regarding Edwards.)
The roster of TV color analysts hasn't been announced yet, but we know that Alexi Lalas, Ruud Gullit and Steve McManamman are in the mix.
The radio crews are all ESPN veterans, or at least commentators with ESPN experience. Dellacamera - who will also be the Union's play-by-play announcer on Channel 6's local game broadcasts - will work with Tommy Smyth. Glenn Davis will work with former Columbus Crew star Kyle Martino, and ESPN International's Ross Dyer will work with Shep Messing. With the exception of Dyer, all those names are probably familiar to you.
ESPN Radio will broadcast all 64 World Cup games, as well as a few studio shows. Thirteen games will be broadcast nationally: the three U.S. group games, two Round of 16 games, the four quarterfinals, the two semifinals and the final. The rest of the games are at affiliates' discretion from what I can tell. It's after business hours as I write this but I'll try to get a call in to 97.5 as soon as I can to find out which games they'll pick up.