Bennett wore a striped fleece of khakis and red, white and blue. he was shining
“I’m a mental wreck right now,” Bennett said in a lilting Liverpool accent. “But this is the most enjoyable state of exhaustion I have ever experienced.”
Bennett, along with Londoner Michael Davies, are one half of the duo known as the Men In Blazers, and since 2010, their trademark goofy style has drawn a steadily growing global audience. has provided football commentary to On Saturday’s show, Bennett called Lionel Messi the Argentinian Care Bear and sang the name of Spanish forward Alvaro Morata in falsetto to “If You Like Piña Coladas.”
Bennett and Davies have a team of 12 production staff. Their live shows draw from 500 he to 1000 people at each stop. They released a book chronicling the greatest footballers of all time and a series of podcasts covering all aspects of this World Cup. Addressing the geopolitical issues of the Qatar Games, he teamed up with Ted Russo co-creator Brendan Hunt to chronicle the journey of the men’s national team.
The goal is to make Men In Blazers a full-fledged media company powered by the growing popularity of soccer in the United States. Soccer has been America’s sport of the future since his 1972, and Bennett likes to joke, but he thinks this world his Cup really is that moment (or at least the moment before). I affirm.
“The 1994 World Cup here was meant to be football at its best, but on the contrary, it was like a wave crashing on the beach.” The Cup crashes onto the beach in big waves leaving more spectators behind.It’s never a straight line, but the World Cup is getting closer [to the U.S.] In 2026, and at this very moment, the women’s game is booming and it’s really about to explode. “
Data points continue to accumulate. According to Fox, the USA vs. England match was the most watched football match on English-language television in American history. Premier League viewership has risen from around 13 million in 2012 to over 30 million last year, according to NBC, which just paid $2.7 billion for a new six-year rights deal. Division Welsh Club, Wrexham and then made a documentary. American players dot the rosters of Europe’s top teams, and European soccer leagues have become the core offerings of streaming services vying for supremacy in American media.
Ahead of this World Cup, Netflix aired a documentary on FIFA corruption, meadowlark media Produced a documentary in English and Spanish about the football rivalry between the United States and Mexico for Amazon Prime.
For Bennett, it’s all a bit of a dream. He recalled going to Chicago bars during a tournament game in 1994 and finding them empty. When his favorite club, Everton, played an important FA Cup match for him the following year, his father in Liverpool held up his phone to the radio so he could follow along. As recently as 2006, the World Cup he was ESPN’s “time staller.” That means the network wasn’t paying for the rights to air the tournament.
Bennett and Davis, veteran TV producers who brought you Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? He moved to the US and is now executive producer of ‘Jeopardy’ and has often been in the middle of the sport’s journey over the last 20 years. For his 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, his future ESPN chairman John Skipper hired Davis to write daily reaction articles. Skipper noticed page views, 2010 and he claimed rights to the 2014 World Cup, and on weekend mornings he decided to replace the hunting and fishing shows that were on ESPN with the Premier League. . “I think the ratings have tripled for him,” Skipper said.
Skipper recalled that ESPN spent about $40 million to produce the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. “We decided to make the World Cup one of our top three or four priorities.” Was there? Yes, there was.”
Bennett and Davis met at a wedding during the 2006 World Cup and felt the same. Bennett is a freelance writer and author, including on his ESPN, and in 2010, he started a podcast on his ESPN site, Grantland, in his Simmons boutique. Between segments on stagflation and horse racing politics. (Tom Brokaw asked him on air why football deserved his attention.
The American media has been trying to market the game to the American public for years, with mixed success. Bennett said years ago he was lectured by an ESPN executive about how major league football alone was important to the growth of the sport in the United States. “If you’re in Houston, would you rather wear the Real Madrid or Houston Dynamo jersey?” the executive asked earnestly. Bennett, however, recognized that the Premier League was the best football in the world and that it would get the most attention from Americans.
When EA Sports’ FIFA video game introduced players like Messi and Ronaldo to a generation of Americans, Bennett realized his role was to look beyond the X’s and O’s.Part of it was playing a curious Premier League soccer sommelier, Help them identify the side they can pledge allegiance to.
“I’m from Boston, so I’m a little self-loathing, but I’m also a lovable loser to the pre-2004 Red Sox,” Vietor said. Bennett had a team for him. “He said, ‘You are an Everton fan!
“American fans understand the game as much as anyone in England,” said Bennett. “It speaks to the difference between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid because the American fans have never experienced it. What is the difference between Inter Milan and AC Milan? What is the history? What is the culture? What is the political reality? We leaned towards the backstory and the historical arc.”
The American network has noticed and is lavishing on Bennett and Davis to grow their wealth. ESPN sent them to Brazil for their 2014 nightly roundup. NBC hired them to produce a TV show about the Premier League. CBS is currently sponsoring podcasts about the Champions League and the US Women’s Soccer League. I also have a player. “They gave us a platform to tell our stories. It opened up more support for us and the girls’ game.”
About 700 people in Men In Blazers merch and Team USA scarves packed the Capital Turnaround for a live show on Saturday night in Washington DC. At the ensuing bar, Davis and Bennett huddled like real celebrities. spoke optimistically about (That view was almost unanimous in the crowd. “I think it’s a little annoying,” says British transplant and loyal listener Claire Bates about Bennett dropping Team USA’s English.) I did.)
That scene was a snapshot of the sport. Another step is to stop mainstream sports media from thinking about football and its fans like children in a sports theater. Have Steven A. Smith and Skip his Bayless discuss the merits of the 4-4-2 formation, as well as Geo’s positioning of Reyna. Americans line up like Dallas Cowboys and LeBron James.
Bennett thinks it’s coming.
“Stephen A. Smith talks about what’s interesting,” he said. “And the tectonic plates are changing. America’s money for the sport is increasing in surprising ways. And when that happens, Stephen A. Smith will be playing against Manchester United on Wednesday night.” Four or five American players playing for Tottenham Hotspur will be devastated by his shock and amazement.I know how we got here, but here we are.
Until then, Bennett’s Twitch stream will suffice. During the match, Bennett’s eyes are wide open and he gestures with gestures that Smith would be proud of. “Don’t let them treat you like the Dream Team treated Toni Cucock,” he begged the United States during the draw with England. he shouted when he scored against Iran.
Back at the bar, after midnight, he took a final sip of beer and announced that he needed to write a script before the flight. He popped out of the bar to find his Uber in a blur of khakis and Americana.