There are a couple of interesting TV notes surrounding US soccer this week. The most significant is the announcement that the English rights to the USA/Mexico World Cup qualifier belong to……Telemundo. According to Mr. Goff, Telemundo will show the game in Spanish on its main channel and in English on “mun2” a station available in only 30 million households. Telemundo is owned by NBC. According to Goff, ESPN attmpted to purchase the game from Telemundo, but the rights were not for sale. Given the strange start time (4:00 p.m. ET) for the midweek game, the match will likely not be a ratings dynamo. Yet, the lack of availability in English will dramatically impact the ability of the work crowd to catch the game at a bar and of the college/school crowd to watch the game at home. This is the biggest World Cup qualifier in years, and Telemundo’s power play will likely deny millions of American sports fans the opportunity to watch the game.
In other TV news, FSC landed the big match (for viewership purposes) of the MLS season to date. Beckham’s Thursday night match in NY and return to MLS should be a ratings draw in prime time for the soccer network. FSC has done a good job of promoting the game during the Gold Cup broadcasts. At the same time, ESPN2 definitely drew the short straw for the week (yet a better game), with a 1:00 ET Saturday Toronto/Houston match. The Toronto game is probably the better match-up, but the Galaxy contest is the sexier game. Saturday times were not historically successful for ESPN, and a 10:00 a.m. Pacific start time (even in Toronto) will probably continue that trend.
Finally, the semi-finals of SuperLiga are upon us, with a two match doubleheader at Gillette on Wednesday night. The game promises to be lightly attended (although the Revs are including this in their season ticket package). All SuperLiga games are televised on Telefutura, yet the semi-finals have also been picked up by English language TV in New England on Comcast SportsNet. The game will be shown in Mass, Conn. and Rhode Island using the Revs usually play-by-play man Brad Feldman.