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Fans will have to shell out for Guatemala-USA
by Paul Kennedy, May 21st, 2012 11:40PM

TAGS:  men's national team, television, world cup 2014


[TELEVISION WATCH] The first big World Cup 2014 qualifier of the year will take place June 12 when the USA travels to Guatemala City to face Guatemala (kickoff: 10 p.m. ET), but fans will only be able to watch the game on pay-per-view television. Like the rights to Honduras-USA, the deciding game of the Americans' 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, rights to Guatemala-USA were sold by the host federation to a third party who did not resell the live rights to a U.S. broadcaster. The cost to watch Guatemala-USA? The suggested retail price is $29.95 ...

In Concacaf, a federation holds the media rights to its home World Cup qualifiers. As has been typical for many years around the world, third-party agencies will buy up these rights and attempt to resell them for a profit.

In the case of Guatemala-USA, the Guatemalan federation sold the rights to Traffic Sports in both English and Spanish without requiring it to resell the English-language rights to a broadcaster. (Traffic also owns the rights to the U.S. qualifiers at Jamaica and at Antigua & Barbuda later this year.)

U.S. Soccer reported that it and its broadcast partners had discussions with Traffic Sports to purchase the rights, but the agency opted to distribute the match on pay-per-view in the United States, utilizing the services of Integrated Sports Media to handle the distribution via pay-per-view on cable or satellite providers. (Integrated Sports will also air qualifiers involving Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica and Canada in June.)

In 2009, the Honduras-USA match was almost exclusively available in Honduran or Latino establishments that showed the game on a par-per-view basis. The USA won, 3-2, to clinch a berth in the 2010 finals.

"What's good for the sport, that's U.S Soccer's agenda," Integrated Sports Media president Doug Jacobs told AP. "We're a private business. I'm a soccer fan, and the alternative was a lot worse. It could have been as it was in 2009, closed circuit. It's the lesser of two evils."

Four days before Guatemala-USA, the U.S. national team will open qualifying under Jurgen Klinsmann against Antigua & Barbuda in Tampa. That game will air on ESPN, ESPN3, Galavision (kickoff: 7 p.m. ET).

  1. Hack NSack
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 1:28 a.m.
    Throw the evil soccer barons out!!!! The only was to get rid of groups like Integrated Sports Media extorting our hard earned dollars is to ignore the live game all together. I hate not watching but it's the truth. Extortion = Integrated Sports Media = Apple - they all suck!!!!!!
  1. Luis Montalvo
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 8 a.m.
    This is ridiculous, the soccer federation has to take this as a real issue. Soccer is growing in this country, yet free over the air broadcast of our national teams still can't be accomplished? Unbelievable
  1. Nikolaus Gabris z
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 10:03 a.m.
    I agree Luis wholehardidly! wording in statement SB: "If soccer is going to grow in this country" it will not grow with this type of "Blackmailing"
  1. Carl Walther
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 10:59 a.m.
    Pay $30 to watch the US team? Are they nuts? These guys should be replaced with people who have IQ scores with 3 digits.
  1. Valerie Metzler
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 11:18 a.m.
  1. David Huff
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 11:23 a.m.
    Once again, CONCACAF and USSF prove how short-sighted they are in allowing 3rd party "bottom feeder" vendors like Traffic Sports and Integrated Sports Media to hijack development of the game in the US as well as other countries. Its simpler to not watch, especially since higher quality soccer will be taking place in Euro 2012 at the same time.
  1. John Hooper
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 1:40 p.m.
    Everyone bashing CONCACAF and USSF, read the article mroe carfully. The rights were sold by the Guatemalan FA, which held them as part of the agreement CONCACAF teams have about rights-sharing for member nations' home games. USSF had no say in this and CONCACAF would have to change a basic policy about rights distribution to change this.
  1. Brian Damphousse
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 6 p.m.
    Sure enough, Mr. Hooper. But USSF could very well have "urged" US mainstream media partners to get it done. "You want our programming? You want a long term relationship with us? But the rights to away qualifiers. Show us you care. If you have to take a loss, so be it."
  1. Brian Damphousse
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 6:01 p.m.
    Buy the rights, I should have written.
  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: May 22, 2012 at 7:27 p.m.
    This happened before with the Honduras match during the last Qualifying campaign, that it is happening AGAIN is ridiculous... there simply needs to be a quid pro quo here, if you limit our ability to see OUR National Team then during the return match YOU will be denied that right as well... if we own THEIR team's rights and make sure that they are not able to see or profit from that match we might find it far easier to prevent this sort of thing from continuing to occur. But the article refers to both the "AWAY" matches at Antigua and Jamaica as being in the hands of this company... it means that the USSF clowns better be working on keeping this from happening again NOW... and not sitting on their hands and looking up at the sky looking sheepish over the whole deal... this simply is NOT ACCEPTABLE and it requires that they show that indeed they have a set and either cajole or scare the crap out of the respective associations that we are not going to just roll over and play dead. Considering that we really SHOULD expect to make it out of this round and into the final qualifying group of six next year... it behoves them to deal with that prospect RIGHT NOW... After the Honduras mess I simply can't believe that there is so much more money to be made in a closed pay per view... but clearly if an association feels no fear of selling the rights to some third party, then they will continue to do so... so it is essential to make THEM THINK TWICE about doing it in the future... to do nothing will just be taken as quite approval and send a very wrong message to any and all other associations about this matter. ... (ICE)
  1. Nancy DeFrates-Densch
    commented on: May 23, 2012 at 9:15 a.m.
    I agree with Robert. When we have the rights to a broadcast, we should make it so other countries have to pay to see a game. I will never understand why USSF does the things they do. For instance, why on earth would we play qualifying games against Mexico or Central American countries in venues where opposing fans will outnumber ours? Do they WANT our players to only have away games? All qualifying games against such countries should be played in the Pacific Northwest or Hawaii. And no, I'm not from there. I live in the Chicago area and have experienced the 10:1 Mexico (or Honduras):USA fan ratio.
  1. David Huff
    commented on: May 23, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
    @ John Hooper, it would truly be a crying shame if "CONCACAF would have to change a basic policy about rights distribution to change this" as you indicate. I'm sure it would be like moving heaven and earth to put an end to these corrupt and incredibly short-sighted deals but what do the fans know?
  1. Andrea Hana
    commented on: May 23, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.
    Hey! I like Nancy's idea! (...and I AM from the Pacific Northwest!) ... ;-)

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