For a network we all made such fun of for hiring blondes, is Fox beginning to head into a redhead phase?
Multiple sources have told Awful Announcing that Fox Sports and Alexi Lalas have been in contact with one another and there is significant interest in bringing him aboard the network’s soccer coverage beginning next year. Lalas’ contract with ESPN expires at the end of 2014.
Lalas, a former player and general manager in MLS, has been one of ESPN’s most prominent soccer studio analysts since 2009 after a guest role with the network during 2006 World Cup. The former defender also contributed to a podcast with fellow ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman during his time with The Worldwide Leader.
Lalas lives in Los Angeles, so moving to Fox — which begins both MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team rights next year — makes sense, as their studios are located in LA. He could potentially join a Fox soccer studio that includes Warren Barton as well as former U.S. national teammates Brian McBride and Eric Wynalda. (For what it’s worth, Lalas and Wynalda both share the same agent.)
For Fox, it’s a theoretical move that would greatly help to beef up their bench for a considerable lineup of soccer properties airing across their networks in the coming years. Adding one of ESPN’s lead analysts for the last two World Cups would be significant for the network as it builds its team of on-air talent ahead of their coming explosion of soccer rights.
Fox owns rights to all FIFA events (World Cup, Women’s World Cup, Confederations Cup), the CONCACAF Gold Cup and half of USMNT qualifying beginning next year. That will be in addition to Major League Soccer, and their already large chest of Champions League, Europa League, Bundesliga and FA Cup rights. ESPN’s soccer properties are currently limited to MLS, the other half of USMNT matches, and the European Championships. Look for Fox to continue to be aggressive in adding more voices to their soccer stable in the coming months.
Both Fox Sports and Lalas declined comment on this story.