Mike Tirico and Bob Ley Return as Hosts with Newcomer Lynsey Hipgrave of BT Sport
Mike Tirico and Bob Ley, two of the industry’s most respected voices, will again serve as hosts of ESPN’s FIFA World Cup coverage. Veterans of the company’s award-winning presentation four years ago in South Africa, Tirico, Ley will be joined by UK-based sports presenter Lynsey Hipgrave of BT Sport as hosts of ESPN’s English-language studio coverage during FIFA World Cup Brazil, June 12-July 13.
The trio will anchor ESPN studio shows – SportsCenter, World Cup Tonight, pre-match, halftime and post-match shows, and other FIFA World Cup-related news and information programs – throughout the month-long tournament from ESPN’s production headquarters at Rio de Janeiro’s Clube dos Marimbás, a popular members-only boating club on the southern tip of Copacabana Beach.
Hipgrave, who joined London-based BT Sport as a studio host in August 2013, will make her ESPN debut during the World Cup, having covered the Premier League and other top-flight football in Europe for the London-based sports network, and the UEFA Champions League for Al Jazeera Sport.
“We are thrilled to have Mike and Bob anchor our FIFA World Cup coverage once again. They were a key part of our success in South Africa, and we expect much the same from them in Brazil. Lynsey is a proven soccer host, coming from BT Sport in the UK. Her knowledge of soccer is at the highest level, as are her skills as a host. She’s very smart, engaging and dynamic – a perfect addition to our team,” said Jed Drake, ESPN Senior Vice President and Executive Producer.
“As good a commentator team as we had in 2010, the group we have assembled for 2014 is even better – more diverse and more opinionated. And they will work tremendously together, one team from 12 different countries.”
Tirico, Ley and Hipgrave will work with ESPN’s 11-member analyst team that features a global roster of international football experts. Collectively, the analysts have been on 15 World Cup rosters and played in 43 matches: Steve McManaman, Stewart Robson (England); Alexi Lalas, Taylor Twellman, Kasey Keller (USA); Michael Ballack (Germany); Efan Ekoku (Nigeria); Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela); Gilberto Silva (Brazil); Santiago Solari (Argentina); Roberto Martinez (Spain); and Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands).
Tirico, one of ESPN’s most-versatile commentators, has covered a variety of top-tier assignments – FIFA World Cup, Monday Night Football, the NBA, college basketball, The Masters, U.S. Open Golf, The Open Championship, Wimbledon and U.S. Open tennis – for ESPN, ESPN Radio and ABC since 1991. He was one of ESPN’s primary hosts for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Ley is the highly-respected host of Outside the Lines since the program’s inception in May 1990 and ESPN’s most-tenured commentator. A passionate and life-long soccer aficionado, Ley has been a part of four FIFA World Cup events on ESPN, including 1982, 1994, 1998 (as top match commentator) and in 2010, when he served as studio host. For his distinguished soccer work, he received the Honorary All-America Award by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in January 1999.
Hipgrave is a sports presenter for London-based BT Sport. She works on the channels’ WTA tennis and football coverage. Hipgrave is also a co-presenter on the Saturday morning show on BBC’s Radio 5 Live with Danny Baker. In the past, she has presented the BBC’s Champions League coverage alongside Gary Lineker and the WTA Championships on Al Jazeera.
ESPN Inc.’s 2014 FIFA World Cup in the United States
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be ESPN’s eighth World Cup and most comprehensive presentation to date. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to air all 64 matches live and in high definition (June 12 – July 13). All ESPN and ESPN2 games will be available on WatchESPN, while ABC matches will be available on WATCH ABC. ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network available in more than 85 million homes, will present matches live in multiple languages (other than English and Spanish).
ESPN’s presentation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will include comprehensive news and information coverage of the month-long soccer showcase with renowned journalists reporting on the tournament and the host country of Brazil. Additional English-language coverage of the quadrennial event will total more than 90 hours of original programming and will include SportsCenter at the World Cup, a nightly World Cup Tonight program, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, a 30-minute pre-match show, halftime and post-match segments, as well as a World Cup-branded ESPN Films 30 for 30: Soccer Stories series, E:60 shows, and access-driven long-form storytelling features.
ESPN garnered more than 40 industry awards, including three Sports Emmys, for its presentation of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – more accolades than any single event in the company’s history.
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