The ABC/ESPN broadcast schedule has been released and they will be showing over 40 matches from South Africa across their family of channels. A few of the Soccerati contributors will spend their time watching matches from the comfort of a random Vegas Sportsbook (thank you World Series of Poker) but the schedule is worth a look for those viewing from home. First big match will be USA/England at 2pm ET, June 12th on ABC.
You can view the complete schedule after the jump.
Soccerati’s a new(ish) operation, of course, and we may or may not have forgotten to pay our Tivo bill. Likewise, there was that whole Obama health care speech, and the desire to flip between Fox, CNN, and MSNBC for comparative post-game analysis. All that, and it’s tough to find non-EPL or MLS games in the Las Vegas Cox Cable listings … like we said, may or may not have forgotten to pay the Tivo bill.
Anyhow, in this sorta situation — because really, as awesome as YouTube can be, online streaming vid isn’t the way to watch a game — the place where I’ve lately found the best quick, action-friendly recap is BleacherReport:
Ack! So ESPN does a 30-minute preview special (cool) … but I can’t find the game itself on TV. I am up in the Pacific Northwest, with some not-so-soccery friends who don’t have Fox Soccer Channel or Setanta … and the cable here doesn’t carry Telemundo, let alone Telemundo 2. WTF!?
(And some Americans wanna stop the influx of Mexicans into this country? I don’t get it!)
I know I’m pretty new to this whole soccer thing, but I’m pretty sure the above is a big deal. So much for my switching cable/satellite providers to get Setanta. And does this have anything to do with Fox Sports here in the US?
Apparently the “better” English Premier League provider welched on £30 million owed to the league — and though for a while it looked like an American investor might bail them out (interesting), but in the end that deal fell through.
Excited about tonight’s game … not only is Costa Rica one of the few teams in CONCACAF that can pose a challenge to the United States, but I’ve also been getting some unusual messages from historically soccer knowledgeable @OliverTse about what the American’s really might face:
Prop bet idea: over/under on the # of urine bags tossed by CR fans at US player when US takes 1st corner kick.
Costa Rica vs USA World Cup soccer qual Wed 6/3 at 7pm PT ESPN. US has never won at Estadio Saprissa, where CR fans toss urine at opponents
Late change: Costa Rica vs USA world cup qualifying soccer will air on ESPN2 instead of ESPN. Pre-game 9:30pm ET, Kickoff 10pm ET
As you may or may not know, I don’t get Setanta here in Las Vegas. Sure, I see some of their games in the casino, but it’s never with sound, so I don’t get to see/hear much of what supposedly makes this channel so far superior to FSC. With that said, I’m not so sure what to think of this show — Special 1 TV, formerly “I’m on Setanta”. I’m pretty sure it’s awesome, but might not be well-educated enough by Fox to fully get the idiosyncrasies of Sven Eriksson, Wayne Rooney, Jose Mourinho, and Alex Ferguson puppets:
ESPN just lost the rights for Champions League games in the US to FSC. Frankly there are pros and cons to this development. With the increased revenue FSC will definitely improve their coverage of the sport. On ESPN’s side this may force the largest sports channel in the US to focus more on the MLS to fill the soccer hole that now exists in their lineup. ESPN cannot ignore the growing Hispanic audience in this country and not have soccer somehow on its channel. Strangely enough ESPN lost out on a bid to televise games in England itself not too long ago. Wonder if Rupert is putting a full court press on the Bristol outfit.
Came across a good soccer podcast — EPLTalk.com. The episode below is more than a year old, but total Football geeks like Sang will find it either intriguingly prescient or at least worthy of vitriolic disagreement and thoughts of riot. The guest is none other than Oliver Tse (a pal of mine from the poker-biz). I had almost forgotten that Oliver, creator of the now-defunct SoccerTV.com, has been following soccer on TV (the business of it, not so much the actual kicking) since the mid-90s (when internet communications were limited to email and usenet groups).
The history of soccer on TV, specifically American TV
The appearance of Budweiser’s Chinese language ads at Old Trafford
The importance of the American audience for Mexican soccer
The increasing proliferation of video game tournaments on TV
EPL’s efforts to reach Asia
World Cup rights fees in America (exceeding those of the rest of the world)
Prediction: HD soccer broadcasts coming Christmas 2008? (Maybe 2009)
The Brazilian soccer channel
Argentine/Paraguayan/Venezuelan soccer on TV
Damn, that’s a lot of good background info (and data for forward thinkers). And though Soccerati’s new readers may not care, I know any Pokerati tagalongs will find it fascinating that Tse was one of 60 who vote for US Soccer Player of the Year.