Play-By-Play Commentator, Soccer
Ian Darke, a top British sportscaster, joined ESPN in September 2010 as its lead soccer voice in the United States. Darke came to ESPN from Sky Sports, where he was a soccer and boxing commentator for the London-based sports network since 1992. At ESPN, Darke is the primary play-by-play voice on ESPN U.S. networks for Barclays Premier League matches, the U.S. National Teams (Men’s and Women’s), marquee Major League Soccer events, 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He joins ESPN after commentating on Premier League and UEFA Champions League matches for the past 18 years.
During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Darke worked for ESPN, commentating on matches for its U.S. audience. His style of commentary, infused with restrained passion, timing and pacing, captured the imagination of fans enthralled by U.S. team’s come-from-behind effort in a 2 – 2 tie vs. Slovenia, and in their next match, a stoppage time goal in a 1–0 victory over Algeria. In 1994, Darke was one of the FIFA World Cup commentators for ESPN and ABC in the U.S.
Darke began his broadcasting career at a regional BBC Radio station – Radio Leicester – in 1975. He moved to BBC’s national service in 1979, where he covered soccer, boxing and athletics. At BBC Radio, Darke’s distinctive voice, and passionate but measured style of commentary, earned him public acclaim, and he quickly built a profile as a premier boxing announcer in the English-speaking world. He covered the 1978, 1982 and 1990 FIFA World Cup events for BBC Radio and Eurosport.
In 1992, Darke joined Sky Sports as one of the network’s soccer commentators. At Sky Sports, he enjoyed a successful career providing commentaries for the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and the Football League, as well as serving as the network’s lead boxing commentator. He called many high level matchups between Premier League superpowers Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea at Sky Sports.
In addition to his work with Sky, Darke’s voice has become familiar among international soccer from his commentaries on the Premiership’s international broadcasts for Trans World International (TWI). He has also served as a primary host of TWI’s weekly magazine show.
Along with being known as a great soccer commentator, Darke is also considered one of the UK’s most respected boxing broadcasters. He has been ringside at major fights such as Muhammad Ali vs. Larry Holmes at Caesar’s Palace (1980), Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns (1985) and others.
Darke, a trained journalist who began his media career working with regional newspapers in the United Kingdom, writes a weekly column for his hometown (Portsmouth) paper, The News, titled “The Darke Side.”
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