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ESPN FC (formerly ESPN SoccerNet) is a U.S. television studio program covering soccer that is broadcast daily over the streaming service ESPN+. ESPN FC's origin was a website owned by ESPN Inc. Originally established in 1995 as SoccerNet, the website was acquired by ESPN in 1999. The domain ESPNFC.com now redirects to soccer news coverage on ESPN.com.
Originally titled SoccerNet, the website was established by Greg Hadfield and his then-teenage son Tom in 1995, initially providing live score updates, tables and news articles. Greg, at that time, worked for the Daily Mail and in order to gain capital, effectively rescinded ownership of the site to his bosses in return for £40,000 and a revenue sharing scheme.
ESPN eventually launched a U.S. television studio program on ESPNews, ESPN2, BT Sport, ESPN Australia, and TSN dedicated to soccer, also known as ESPN FC. The program originally aired on weekday evenings at 6 PM, with a weekly recap show airs on Sunday nights. The program has a mostly British cast. Dan Thomas works as the lead host with Adrian Healey, Sebastian Salazar, and Kay Murray filling in.
The studio analysts at the Bristol, Connecticut studio are: Craig Burley, Steve Nicol, Shaka Hislop, Kasey Keller, and Alejandro Moreno. The rest of the crew joins from London and Europe, and on occasion, in the studio, and includes: Steve McManaman, Stewart Robson, Julien Laurens, Gabriele Marcotti, Don Hutchison, Danny Higginbotham, Frank Leboeuf, Jan Aage Fjortoft, Sid Lowe, Ian Darke, Derek Rae, Jürgen Klinsmann, Alessandro Del Piero, and Santiago Solari. Taylor Twellman, and Herculez Gomez contribute to MLS segments. Former presenters and pundits include: Raphael Honigstein, James Horncastle, Martin Keown, Glenn Hoddle, Roberto Martínez, Kevin Keegan, Rebecca Lowe, Max Bretos, Alexi Lalas, Andrew Orsatti, and Darrell Currie. Also, the now late Paul Mariner used to work as a studio analyst.
ESPN FC also has additional programming like The Gab and Juls Podcast, which has become a TV programme, and the John Dykes Show. In April 2018, the program moved exclusively to the supplemental subscription service ESPN+, though occasional specials will still air on ESPN2.
In November 2013, a favorable story about Qatar's preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the site was met with backlash for author Phil Ball's dismissal of allegations of abuses toward migrant workers by the Qatari government. ESPN later apologized and removed the story from the website, saying that it did not meet their "journalistic standards".
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- "ESPN to have most Euro matches called from Bristol studio". ABC News. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
[...] while calling up to 43 games from its studios in Bristol, Connecticut, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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- Manfred, Tony (November 22, 2013). "Here's The Glowing Story About The Qatar World Cup That ESPN Doesn't Want You To Read". Business Insider.