In the recently concluded FIWC tournament in London, Esportsranks had the pleasure to sit down with FIFA commentators Brandon Smith and Richard Buckley.
How did you become FIFA commentators?
Brandon – “So, we both have our own stories. Richard will come into it later. But for me, I’m a Brighton and Hove Albion fan. I started just practising there, football in general. Luckily enough earlier this year I got approached to do the FIFA17 pro league with a number of clubs that aren’t really as known as the bigs ones. For example, Scottish clubs, Hibernian and Wolverhampton and I started commentating on that on my own. It was a bit of a struggle, 4 hours a day Monday to Friday over on twitch.tv. At this moment in time, I was studying sports journalism, which we still are studying. I knew Richard could talk confidently and I said do you want to come and be a part of this commentary team.”
Richard – “My story is a little bit different. When I was at school I used to listen to Talk Sport 5 Live and I thought “I could do this.” I applied to my local radio station and did a re-wind hour for about six months. 1 hour a week playing music from the 60’s,70’s etc. Didn’t really go anywhere. Then I got approached to do a Saturday afternoon sports show. That was 2-3 years, taking phone calls from fans and doing previews of games. That’s where I really learned to deal with pressure in a live environment.”
“Brandon and I did a little podcast together at university then he approached me in January about the pro-league thing on Twitch.tv. He said he was struggling and asked me whether I wanted to do it with him, as he knew about my radio experience. In the last week, week 14, we were scrolling through twitter and the EA sports commentators cup was advertised. We thought you know what, that’s a good opportunity.”
FUT Champions Berlin
“The FUT champions in Berlin, we were at that competition. I remember it like it was yesterday, our phones were blowing up and everyone was saying that we know the game, we’re great at what we do give them another shot. We were then lucky enough to be involved with the FIWC, and followed the competition all the way to the FIWC17 Grand Final in London, Westminster. We went from being unknown to being the FIFA commentators in the space of a few months.”
How do FIFA commentators prepare for an event like this?
“We prepare a little bit. We go on Skype, talk about every single player. What they’ve achieved, who they’ve beaten to get to the final, the format of the tournament. In terms of gameplay itself I’m getting known for knowing players ratings, I know which players can hold the ball up well. I know this because I’ve played the game so much. I’ve played over 1600 games of FUT this season. I play the weekend league week in week out. I know how to play the game at a good level. It goes hand-in-hand. I enjoy playing FIFA and I can talk about it confidently.”
“Leading on from that, preparation is key. The other day we were in a Skype call talking about every single player. Talking about how many goals Tass has conceded on his way to the grand final in London. You need to have that little fact up your sleeve. Just a number of little things like that.”
What do you think the growth of the game means for FIFA commentators?
“For the commentators, it’s only going to get bigger. With all these teams coming in, PSG, Schalke, Roma and Wolfsburg. For example, you can go into the Wolfsburg store and ask for Timox on the back of my shirt. They’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. Furthermore, to go to the next level you need to look at the Premier League teams. Some of the huge teams in Europe, the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, when they get involved with Esports it’s only going to benefit the players, the community, and the commentators.”
“I think the same, when will there be a pro-league on SKY? Hopefully, we’ll be able to commentate on it. Some of the big names need to get involved and commentary is important. The commentary pool isn’t that big at the moment and luckily we’re in the right place at the right time.”
Optimism about FIFA as an Esport
Brandon and Richard have just recently signed with a new management team, Digital Sports Mgmt. They were incredibly optimistic about the future of FIFA as an Esport and also of their futures as commentators. Moreover, they thought that the growth of FIFA as an Esport into the mainstream was inevitable. This was certainly something which was echoed across the entire FIWC17 event. FIWC18 will definitely be a much bigger event and it will be interesting to see how much every single aspect of the Esport has grown when it comes round.
FIFA Commentators sign with Digital Sports Mgmt
Digital Sports Mgmt announced that FIFA commentators Richard Buckley and Brandon Smith have signed on to their agency.
“The exclusive agreement was signed in London and commences immediately. Richard and Brandon won the EA SPORTS Commentators Cup in May this year, winning a chance to commentate at the FUT Championships Final in Berlin. They have never looked back as they won the FIFA community and fans over with their expert knowledge of FIFA e-sports players and FIFA 17.
The two UCFB students have built an incredible chemistry over the years hosting various podcasts and football events.
Having now commentated at multiple legs of the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the young duo are now firmly entrenched in the FIFA commentator scene and were in London this week commentating on the Final of the FIWC.”
Quotes from Digital Sports Mgmt
Rob Wadsworth, Co-founder, and Director of Digital Sports Mgmt said: “We are delighted to welcome E-sports commentators Brandon Smith & Richard Buckley to Digital Sports Mgmt. The guys have burst onto the scene by demonstrating a deep understanding of FIFA and commentating in an authentic way that resonates with gamers and fans alike. We look forward to contributing to their continued evolution and success.”
Tom Henderson, Co-founder, and Director of Digital Sports Mgmt said: “We’re thrilled to have signed Richard and Brandon. They won great respect from the FIFA community for their deep knowledge of FIFA, football and all the players participating in the FUT Championships and FIWC. I can’t wait to see how the future unfolds for them as we head into FIFA 18.”
Richard Buckley said: “I’m delighted to sign with Digital Sports Mgmt. it’s an unbelievable opportunity to partner with two guys who have experience working on FIFA and have been in football for so many years. Just look at these guys resumes, they are the people to be with.”
Furthermore, Brandon Smith added: “It’s the right move for us at the right time. We are ready to take the next step in our commentating careers and I can’t wait to get going as we build out our experience commentating on FIFA events. It’s an exciting time as FIFA e-sports grow from strength to strength.”