ESPN Snags Martin Tyler For World Cup Coverage

ESPN has inked a deal with legendary British soccer commentator Martin Tyler for its 2010 coverage of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Tyler is one of the best known soccer commentators in the world, having covered every World Cup since 1978. He was named "FA Premier League Commentator of the Decade" in 2003 by a panel of fans and soccer experts.

"Martin Tyler is one of the top English-language soccer commentators in the world; his experience, authentic style and in-depth knowledge of the game will help elevate ESPN's presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, informing and entertaining our viewers in the United States," said Jed Drake, ESPN senior VP and executive producer of event production.

Tyler has covered the World Cup and Premier League matches for ITV and Sky Sports in the UK, and most recently Australia's SBS network.

The addition of Tyler, who is as well known a figure to European "football" as John Madden is to the American game, is the latest move by ESPN to bolster its World Cup coverage. The network is moving many of its studio shows to South Africa for the duration of the World Cup.

ESPN has high hopes for the 2010 tournament, especially now that the two major North American draws, the U.S. and Mexico, have secured entry.

While Tyler has not commentated specifically for a North American network, he has appeared on some channels with rights to his European games, and also provides commentary for the popular FIFA video game series on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles.

"As a regular visitor to the USA, I am well aware of the quality and tradition of ESPN, and I am delighted to be part of their World Cup coverage," Tyler said. "My Sky Sports colleague Andy Gray talks warmly about his time on ESPN during Euro 2008 and I hope to be able to meet the challenge as well as he did."