Fox Soccer Channel will pair Mark Rogondino and Jenn Hildreth for its game-of-the-week coverage of Women's Professional Soccer rookie season.
Rogondino will handle play-by-play duties, with Hildreth supplying color commentary for FSC's 20-match regular season coverage, which extends into August.
The successor to the cable-centric WUSA, which folded amidst financial losses after its third campaign in 2003, WPS comprises seven squads, the Los Angeles Sol, Washington Freedom, FC Gold Pride, Chicago Red Stars, Boston Breakers, Sky Blue FC (New Jersey, New York) and Saint Louis Athletica. An eighth franchise in Philadelphia will begin play in 2010.
Branded WPS Sunday on FSC, coverage kicks off on the circuit's inaugural season March 29, with the Freedom (the same moniker of the WUSA team, which was led by that league's patriarch and Discovery Communications founder John Hendricks, who owns the WPS's DC franchise) visiting the Sol from the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Fox Soccer Channel's coverage of the WPS's inaugural match begins with a 30-minute pregame show at 5:30 p.m. (ET), leading to kickoff at 6 p.m. All but one -- the Sat. April 11 match between the Freedom and Red Stars -- of the weekly telecasts are slated for Sunday evenings.
Rogondino has been a member of the Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Sports World on-air talent team since 2002, announcing telecasts from the Barclays Premier League, Major League Soccer, college soccer and a slew of other domestic and international competitions. He has also been a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy broadcast team for the past four years, where he initially served as a sideline reporter before moving into the booth during the 2006 season.
A newcomer to FSC, Hildreth has worked for Fox Sports Net, the Big Ten Network, Raycom Sports and Comcast Sports as an Emmy-winning features reporter, host, sideline reporter, anchor, color analyst and play-by-play announcer, bringing a wealth of experience and versatility to the booth. At FSN South, she serves as the primary color commentator for Southeastern Conference women's college soccer, and has also been a part of the network's college football and basketball preview shows since their inception in 2005, both as a host and a reporter.Hildreth served as color analyst for Comcast's coverage of the WUSA's Atlanta Beat.
"Fox Soccer Channel welcomes the opportunity to serve as the exclusive national broadcast partner of Women's Professional Soccer and we feel Mark and Jenn are the perfect on-air pairing to bring viewers the ‘beautiful game' every Sunday," said Dermot McQuarrie, assistant general manager and senior vice president of production and programming for FSC. "Fox Soccer Channel is known for showcasing a wide range of soccer leagues and tournaments both nationally and internationally, and we are proud that the elite players of WPS are now featured in our weekly lineup."
WPS playoff coverage will be split between FSC and Fox Sports Net's owned-and-affiliated regional sports networks, which reach up to 80 million homes nationally. Coverage of the 2009 WPS All-Star Game has yet to be announced.