April 24, 2010
Dellacamera: I would have preferred TV, but I am working the World Cup final
By Michael Lewis
Even though he is the U.S. soccer broadcaster and has worked six World Cups, ESPN has relegated JP Dellacamera to the radio booth in South Africa.
In his first public comments, Dellacamera talked about his situation.
"While I would have preferred to do television, I am looking forward to the radio challenge," he said. "I will call game one of the World Cup, all of the USA games, plus the final, and I have my pick of the games I will call on a daily basis.
"At the end of the day, I'm doing the World Cup final.
Whether it's radio, tv, or the internet, it's the World Cup final. For me, it's always about the event.
"My goal, like it is at every World Cup, will be to be the best play-by-play voice that the network has."
ESPN has decided to go with play-by-play men from England or with British accents.
In an April 14 interview with BigAppleSoccer.com, John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president for content John Skipper, defended his network's decision.
When the United States takes on England in the much anticipated opening-round encounter at the World Cup in South Africa June 12, legendary English announcer Martin Tyler is likely to be the leading man for the Group C clash.
"JP who has done a terrific job for us, who we feel very good about and radio is important to us," Skipper said during a press gathering the Bryant Park Hotel Wednesday. "So we have JP and Tommy Smyth doing radio. They are both key guys for us. We're excited to have them in the booth."
Skipper said there will be an American voice in the booth, probably former U.S. international and Red Bulls assistant coach John Harkes as a color announcer.
But why radio and not TV for Dellacamera, arguably the most respected American TV soccer announcer, especially a game that pitís the U.S. vs. England?
"Well, it's a load," Skipper said. "He's going to end up doing 60-plus games on the radio. Our sense was to keep him focused. We'll have our best possible radio broadcast. It is by no means intended as any judgment on his importance to us or how he has done. It's not."
Dellacamera, ESPN's MLS voice, is the veteran of six World Cups (five TV, one radio), four Women's World Cups and two Summer Olympics. He also was the No. 1 play-by-play man of MetroStars/Red Bulls games from 2000-2006 and currently holds that role with the Philadelphia Union.
Dellacamera will be the Union's TV play-by-play announcer when Philly visits the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena at 4 p.m. Saturday.