Just as I was trying to get excited for the World Cup qualifying journey and get some other people on the train with me, it appears there could be a derailment. The United States team won their opener against Antigua and Barbuda in less-than-thrilling fashion 3-1. They played down to their opponent, which is frustrating. That set up tonight’s game against a far superior Guatemala squad. The problem? Tonight when the United States plays Guatemala at 10 P.M. EST, but you won’t find it on ESPN, ESPN2, or even the Fox Soccer Channel. Unless you’re willing to head to a bar or pony up $30 for pay-per-view, you won’t be able to watch it at all. How in the world can this happen?
FIFA needs to get its business together. The rights to tonight’s match were purchased by a company called Traffic Sports, based in Brazil. Brazil is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the worldwide television rights to each qualifying match are “initially the property of the hosting country,” according to a FAQ on USSoccer.com. Ultimately no matter how badly the U.S. Soccer wants to have the game available on TV (and trust me, they do,) they have no leverage to compel this Brazilian marketing and promotions company to make a deal with any carriers in the United States. This is complete and utter garbage. [Read more...]