ESPN’s coverage of the Barclays Premier League is brought to you by a winning squad of on-screen talent and experience. Ray Stubbs, Rebecca Lowe, Jon Champion, Chris Waddle and Kevin Keegan bring a whole new dynamic to covering and analysing England’s top division.
Our new rugby team follows the same pattern. Austin Healey, formerly of England & Leicester Tigers is chief analyst, while the commentary team of Nick Mullins, Mark Durden-Smith, Sarra Elgan and Ben Kay bring a wealth of World Cup and Premiership experience, gained on the mic and on pitch.
In addition to the live football and rugby coverage, ESPN also offers several studio shows every week:
“Talk of the Terrace“
Mondays at 6.30pm
Talk of the Terrace (“TOTT”) is back for another season in a new slot with a new look presentation team as Kelly Cates & Nat Coombs are joined on the sofa by a plethora of stars from the world of sport and entertainment.
The show will be live each and every Monday evening during the football season from 6.30 offering 90 minutes of lighthearted banter, irreverent features, viewer interaction & VIP interviews.
From kick off to final whistle tott gives a different perspective on the weekend’s Barclays Premier League action – eschewing run of the mill post-match analysis in favour of a more offbeat look at all things football.
“Pardon The Interruption“ (PTI)
Mondays at 11.30pm ; repeated on Tuesdays at 8am and 6pm
Pardon the Interruption (PTI) has finally made the trip across the Atlantic. The UK version is based on the original Emmy Award winning US format, which sees two hosts verbally battle it out on all subjects that are topical in the world of sport that week.
PTI is presented by Mark Chapman and Steve Bunce.
Podcasts and video clips will be available on ESPN.co.uk every week: click here to see the latest clips.
“ESPNsoccernet Press Pass“
Sundays late evening, and Monday to Friday at 11.30pm
Featuring a panel of pundits which combines former top-flight players and internationally-renowned journalists, ESPNSoccernet Press Pass debates the beautiful game’s biggest talking points.
Among the regulars are former Premier League stalwarts, Robbie Mustoe, Shaka Hislop, Robbie Earle and Steve Nicol as well as World Cup winner, Frank Leboeuf. Meanwhile, from the world of football media are Gabriele Marcotti, Raphael Honigstein and Sid Lowe.
Airing at 11:30pm on weeknights, Press Pass presents the last word on the day’s discussion.
View the latest video clips by clicking here.
As soon as you here Ray speak, you know where he’s from. And like every little boy from Liverpool, Ray grew up wanting to become a footballer. ‘Stubbsy’ got closer than most, signing on as an apprentice professional with Tranmere Rovers, before deciding that his true talent lay in introducing the big-match action rather than playing the starring role himself.
During a long stint at BBC television, he progressed quickly from researcher on ‘A Question Of Sport’ – where he successfully persuaded Diego Maradona to make an appearance in the programme’s ‘mystery guest’ slot – to presenting the likes of ‘Football Focus’ and ‘Grandstand’. A long-time host of ‘Match Of The Day’, Ray made the move to ESPN just in time to present the new UK network’s first-ever live Barclays Premier League match – Everton versus Arsenal, in August 2009.
An attractive on-screen presence in every sense, Rebecca is an ace touch-line reporter. She hits just the right tone between warm and highly enquiring, and has extracted illuminating answers and revelations from such notoriously tricky characters such as Rafael Benitez and Arsene Wenger.
Kevin Keegan is a legend, and three generations of viewer regard ‘Special K’ with real affection. Those who grew up in the 1970s will recall him as Liverpool’s all-action talisman, school-boys from the early 1980s remember him as England’s inspirational captain, and those from the 1990s picture him on the touch-line as Newcastle United’s manager, helming the Magpies’ goal-drenched golden age. And now as ever, he’s happiest when speaking his mind.
A jinking, snake-hipped winger during the 1980s and ‘90s, Chris Waddle is now every bit as fluid and exciting inside the ESPN commentary-box as he was on the pitch. A great name with Newcastle, Tottenham, Sheffield Wednesday and England, Waddle is now rightly regarded as being one of the few ‘big name’ ex-professionals to regularly offer TV viewers what he regards as the full, unvarnished truth. As only a Geordie boy can be, Waddle’s passion and pride for football is evident in every one of his striking co-commentaries, and he’s never afraid to voice his views…
From very early in life, Derek Rae believed it was his destiny to become a football commentator. He attended matches during his teens equipped with a microphone and tape-recorder, honing his technique, and he was providing a live pitch-side broadcast for local hospital radio before he left school.
He’s been calling games ever since, for BBC Radio Scotland and then on television for a variety of overseas networks. In 1987 Rae won the title of British Sports Broadcaster Of The Year at the age of just 20, and has been in constant demand ever since. He was the natural choice as lead commentator for ESPN after the network captured the TV rights to Scotland’s Premier League.
Velvet-voiced Darrell Currie’s broadcasting background reads like a listing on the ‘Sports’ section on your TV’s EPG. ESPN’s ace SPL touch-line reporter has worked for Radio Clyde, BBC Scotland’s television service and CNN International, amongst many others. Passions run high in Scottish football, and Currie has proved adept at diplomatically extracting noteworthy quotes from his big-name interviewees – often whilst the actual match is still in progress – without ever prodding them into an undignified explosion.
McManaman played for England in the 1998 World Cup and in the European Championships in 1996 and 2000. He was the first British player to win the UEFA Champions League title twice, and the first English footballer to win the Champions League with a non-English club.
Following his retirement from professional football in 2005, McManaman embarked on a new career in television as a commentator, providing analysis for ITV during the 2005 Champions League Final, for ESPN Star Sports in Singapore in 2006, and for Setanta Sports. McManaman was a studio analyst during ESPN in the US’s critically-acclaimed coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and in November 2010 joined ESPN as a football analyst for its networks in the US and UK, covering the Premier League and FA Cup.
A legendary and much-loved name amongst rugby union fans, Healey has made an effortless (Lineker-style, some might say) switch from the pitch to the TV studio. Having started out with his local side, Orrell, Healey started a decade-long, trophy-filled stint with Leicester Tigers in 1996 and his outspoken views at Welford Road earned him the nick-name of ‘The Leicester Lip’.
That said, Healey didn’t need to say anything to silence his critics; he did that by representing England 51 times and the British & Irish Lions on two separate tours.
Never a man to shirk a challenge, Healey accepted three very disparate offers in 2006; starting a new career as a City banker with Credit Suisse, moving into television as an expert analyst and finally trying out the foxtrot on BBC1’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. He is a man of many talents!
A familiar voice to British radio listeners during his marathon stints on air during BBC Five Live’s coverage of Wimbledon, Nick Mullins is also rugby union’s most respected TV match commentator. Having taken up residence behind the microphone at the last four Rugby World Cups, he’s the ideal choice to lead the way during ESPN’s debut season of screening the Aviva Premiership’s most exciting fixtures.
Mullins has guided viewers and listeners through a whole host of top-quality rugby competitions down the years, from high-profile Six Nations International matches to the cut and thrust of the Anglo-Welsh Cup as well as two Olympic Games.
Continuing the journey of top-notch sporting talent into television, Ben Kay is one of English Rugby Union’s immortals – having been a key part of the Rugby World Cup-winning side of 2003. Indeed, without Kay’s athleticism and expertise during line-outs, there is a tantalising chance that Sir Clive Woodward’s side might not have ended up victorious.
A native of the north-west, Kay is a fervent supporter of Liverpool FC, but found his true calling on the Rugby Union pitch – signing on with the all-conquering Leicester Tigers immediately having graduated in sports science from Loughborough University.
Only a recent retiree from the professional game (following a trophy-drenched stint at Welford Road), Kay joins ESPN in making a TV debut on Rugby Union this season. His expert analyses and opinionated verdicts on contemporary players are sure to be well worth listening to.
Mark Durden-Smith began his career working in the BBC’s regional newsrooms, before becoming a researcher on Saturday Night Clive and Clive Anderson Talks Back.
He earned his first presenting job in 1996 with Sky Sports, where he fronted the network’s live rugby union coverage, including domestic, European and international fixtures and various other programmes.
Mark moved to terrestrial television in 2002 as a presenter on Channel 4’s morning programme RI:SE.
He has presented a range of shows for ITV2, including seven series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here! Now, Celebrity Drop, Soapstar Superstar and Hell’s Kitchen: Extra Portions.
Mark has hosted three series of Sky One’s The Match as well as Double or Nothing and the Police Bravery Awards for the channel, while he also presented BBC1’s National Lottery show Millionaire Manor.
In 2007, Mark presented ITV’s Wish You Were Here…? Now and Then, in which he visited holiday destinations the original programme covered to see how they had changed. In the same year he fronted ITV’s award winning coverage of the University Boat Race.
In August 2010, ESPN announced it had signed Mark Durden-Smith as lead presenter of its live coverage of Aviva Premiership Rugby.
Sarra began her television career acting on the popular Welsh soap Pobol y Cwm. Whilst acting she secured her first presenting role on BBC Wales’ show The Wrap.
Her presenting experience covers a wide range of programmes, including The Saturday Show, Top of the Pops Saturday and Xchange for the BBC, and, Play the Game, Dial-a-Date and Pop Factory for ITV.
For Welsh television Sarra’s credits include music shows A Song For Wales, Pop Factory Music Awards, Popty, Bandit and Cân y Gymru, children’s sports programme Rygbi 100%, and art show Cer i Greu, for S4C.
Sarra’s extensive experience as a sports presenter has seen her covering rugby and Celtic League Rugby for S4C and Speedway for Sky. She was also CBBC’s reporter on Euro 2004 in Portugal. Sarra has also hosted radio shows for BBC Radio Wales and Cardiff station Red Dragon.
In August 2010, ESPN announced it had signed Sarra Elgan as a reporter on its live coverage of Aviva Premiership Rugby.
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