Strange weekend for the middle of a Major League Soccer campaign. With World Cup qualifying and the Euro 2012 taking center stage, there was only one MLS match over the last couple of days. Perhaps the biggest soccer match in the United States over the weekend featured Argentina and Brazil in a much hyped friendly between the two South American powers. The game sold out Met Life Stadium, featured a Lionel Messi hat-trick and still drew a collective yawn from the mainstream New York media.
The ESPN broadcasts were typical FIFA quality. Bob Ley did his typically able job anchoring the studio show flanked by the omnipresent Alexi Lalas and newcomer Michael Ballack. Ballack impressed in his new role and the studio program was its typically well produced product. ESPN threw Kasey Keller right into the fire, pairing him with Ian Darke in the network’s primary broadcast booth. Keller’s performance was mixed, but ESPN seems ready to heavily invest in the former US International goalie.
The coming week features the American qualifier in Guatemala. As we noted last week Instead, the home federation has sold the rights to a third party vendor who is looking to use Pay Per View to recoup its fee. According to Soccer America, the anticipated price will be $29.95 to watch the 10:00 p.m. match. The rights are held by Traffic Sports, which holds the rights to a number of United States World Cup qualifying match-up. Traffic is free to sell the rights to a traditional network, but the company is betting that it will have more success on a PPV basis.