SI.com , Friday, October 9, 2009 3:45 PM
Because FIFA allows host countries to handle video broadcast rights for World Cup qualifiers, Saturday's match between the USA and Honduras will only be available in the U.S. on closed-circuit TV.
This limits the game's reach in America to a small number of bars and restaurants charging a cover price to recoup the broadcasting costs.
Conacaf general secretary Chuck
, also a member of the FIFA executive committee, explains FIFA's policy as a way for national federations to earn money to support their operating expenses. In Honduras' case, the
Honduran federation sold the video rights to a media company named Media World. No American cable outlet was able to reach a deal to buy the rights from Media World.
Illustrated's Grant Wahl
suggests that this scenario represents an unwelcome trip back to the 1980s. "The last event I saw on closed-circuit TV was the fight between Larry Holmes
more than 27 years ago," Wahl says. Wahl suggests that FIFA, which has an expressed interest in growing soccer in the USA, take fuller control over the broadcasting fiasco.
Wahl writes: "Just as FIFA can allow its federations to sell broadcast rights for the World Cup qualifiers they host, it also could add new stipulations that would make the games more accessible
to the public at large, such as requiring that they be available on home televisions."
To locate establishments showing the Honduras-USA game at 10 pm ET on Saturday, try Copa TV
, USSoccer official bars
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