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Saturday Kickaround

*Following up on the Insider's exclusive report that the USA-Honduras qualifier might appear on pay-per-view or closed circuit TV only, the company that owns the U.S. rights to the match is Media World, an American firm partially owned by MediaPro of Spain. A company official said the game was offered to ESPN and other outlets and that they all passed on it. The asking price was less than a million dollars, the official said.

As a result, live coverage will be shown on closed circuit only in bars and restaurants. Pay-per-view in homes is not going to be offered. The official, Roger Huguet, CEO of Imagina U.S., which oversees Media World, said there is a possibility that a third party will purchase the rights to show the game on tape delay on a standard TV outlet.

"We gave everybody the opportunity to buy the [live] rights and they not only passed, but they didn't even want to negotiate," Huguet said.

*A look at D.C. United's acquisition of defender Lawson Vaughn and the circumstances surrounding Greg Janicki's placement on the disabled list.

*Goals by co-captains Jason Herrick and Kevin Tangney led Maryland (2-1) to a 2-0 victory over visiting Boston College in the Terrapins' ACC opener. Virginia (2-1) dropped a 1-0 overtime decision to Duke before 4,692 at Klockner Stadium -- which was about the same actual turnout for United's game Wednesday against Kansas City.

*MLS today:
Colorado at Toronto, 4 p.m. (Direct Kick)
Seattle at D.C. United, 7:30 (Comcast SportsNet/DC, Direct Kick)
Kansas City at New York, 7:30 (Direct Kick)
Chicago at Real Salt Lake, 9 (Fox Soccer Channel)
Dallas at Los Angeles, 10:30 (Direct Kick)

By Steve Goff  |  September 12, 2009; 9:14 AM ET
Categories:  College Soccer , D.C. United , MLS , TV  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Toronto, DCU Acquisitions
Next: Matchnight #26: United-Sounders

Comments

WOW! I mean, WOW. This television rights situation is incredible

In your last post you said US Soccer Association could purchase the rights and sell/give them to ESPN or another cable outlet, correct? To me this seems like a no-brainer for the fans and marketing. Any chance this will happen?

Unbelievable.

Posted by: davidconnell | September 12, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I wish I were teen-aged Bulgarian hacker, I'd stream this guy's closed circuit to the free world!

Posted by: comfortstarr | September 12, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

if only beckham was playing on the US team....then BSPN would be all over it.

Posted by: nairbsod | September 12, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Good story on Vaughn. I liked the healthy dose of journalistic skepticism concerning Janicki's injury.

Hope no-one else falls in the Great Pit of RFKarkoon tonight.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 12, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Due to the lack of a UnitedCast this morning, I have issued a list of demands for the Capitol Weather Gang at the the threat of turning bitter soccer bloggers against them.

I'll let you know how it turns out. No Unitedcast, No Peace!

Posted by: JkR- | September 12, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Well that's a new twist. I eagerly await ESPN's response.

Posted by: DCUMD | September 12, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

What I don't understand about the whole Janicki/Vaughn transaction is why the team didn't just cut Janicki outright? Or if the injury is legit, why not just put him on season-ending injury reserve? The DL in MLS means that Janicki will have to miss the next 6 league matches, and if I read the rules correctly, then after that the team will have to either cut him, place him on IR, or cut someone else. Our next 6 matches will be 5 remaining regular season matches, and the first playoff match. Seems to me like there is absolutely no chance that the team will activate Janicki for United's 2nd playoff match, so why keep him on the roster at all?

Posted by: DCUMD | September 12, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

What B.S.! US Soccer really is still not up to snuff..

Posted by: alan19 | September 12, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

huguet's comments are a negotiating ploy. this ain't over.

Posted by: troy6 | September 12, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Here's a challenge to Media World:

If the rights to the US-Honduras match are less than $1M, at $20 per PPV, I bet a smart TV exec could gin up a 50K household market . . . maybe sell an ad or two to a national or local marker sponsor. Between USMNT fans and Honduran fans watching in the US, it seems to be a no-brainer.

Posted by: carnack | September 12, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Something is horribly wrong with soccer broadcasting in this country when I have the ability to watch Wizards/Red Bulls from my couch, but have to beg some bar owner to shell out for the national team match that could determine whether my country goes to the World Cup.

Get this sorted out. Yeah, I'm looking at you, USSF.

Posted by: mdamore | September 12, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Something is horribly wrong with soccer broadcasting in this country when I have the ability to watch Wizards/Red Bulls from my couch, but have to beg some bar owner to shell out for the national team match that could determine whether my country goes to the World Cup.

Get this sorted out. Yeah, I'm looking at you, USSF.

Posted by: mdamore | September 12, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Here's why this really sucks -- I have a wedding to go to. There's no way I can see the game live, but now there's no way I can record it to watch later.

Anyone have a suggestion where I might find it archived on the internet?

Posted by: fischy | September 12, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I'll let you know how it turns out. No Unitedcast, No Peace!
Posted by: JkR-
===============

HTe Post doesn't negotiate with terrorists. You have them confused with the Hearst news corporation

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 12, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe this dude from the TV company for a second. He's trying to tell me that no one - NO ONE - wanted to broadcast the game and they have no intention of making money off individual PPV subscribers and the only money they intend to make is from bar and restaurant licenses and a tape-delay?

I call shenanigans. Listening to a guy who runs a company which is owned by another which is owned by a another and all of them are trying to put the game on in as limited fashion as possible doesn't make me feel confident that he isn't just making stuff up.

Posted by: beach3 | September 12, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

England's next qualifier might only be available for a fee online - no TV broadcast

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/sep/11/england-qualifier-newspaper-websites-pay

Posted by: beach3 | September 12, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Media World also helped start GolTV and holds the rights to many properties that GolTV broadcasts, including the Spanish, Colombian and Ecuadorian leagues.

They work with these other channels all the time. They - possibly at the direction of the Honduran federation - are just being obstinate. I really doubt that they couldn't work a deal with GolTV at the very lest. They just don't want to.

Posted by: beach3 | September 12, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

agh, the plight of soccer fans here continues...

Posted by: rademaar | September 12, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

everybody at least going to the match tonight?

Posted by: rademaar | September 12, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

6 peeps en route from PA. The crowd needs to respond!

Posted by: inzzo79 | September 12, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Anyone watch that Chelsea game? Wow. I'd flipped over to the deuce to see the arsenal highlights. The lady on ESPN2 says Chelsea didn't get full points today, so I was thinking maybe the game on FSC wasn't quite real time. So I flipped it back and Chelsea hits the winner in the 94'.

Posted by: ratco | September 12, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

What position does Vaughn play on the back line? Did I miss that in the article? The last I recall he played Left back.

Posted by: no_recess | September 12, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

BC sucks

Go Terriers!

Posted by: KireDCU | September 12, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

everybody at least going to the match tonight?
Posted by: rademaar

Leaving for the game now, much tailgating to do.

So I flipped it back and Chelsea hits the winner in the 94'.
Posted by: ratco

I liked this thread better before that news. Oh well, my guys won.

Posted by: KireDCU | September 12, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Howzabout Nike and Disney and Herbalife and Best Buy and gasp, VW, put some coin together, get to ESPN and get the game.

I mean it's advertising revenue vs cost of media rights. And they are saying it's not worth a million bucks.

Weren't there 7 million viewers for ESPN/Univision for the first US v Mexico game? Honduras won't draw that many but it would do well enough.

Posted by: delantero | September 12, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

This is an ominous situation for the future of soccer on TV. If ESPN won't pay $1,000,000 for this match then we might be witnessing the end of soccer on TV as we have come to know and love.

The problem is that while we see the USA @ HondurASS match as crucial, America as a nation does not.


Posted by: 9Nine9 | September 12, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@fischy -- Barring the legitimate sale of the match to some US broadcaster like ESPN, it's hard to imagine an archived version being easily available online. One thing that did occur to me though: at justin.tv, you can start watching a game live and then click on a link that says "watch later." This generated a URL that you can use to watch an archive of the stream from the point you clicked on that "watch later" link. It's worked for me twice so far.

@beach3 -- One of the big differences in the England situation is that they have already qualified, so for them, it's much less meaningful.

Posted by: edgeonyou | September 12, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I lived in Hawaii a great deal of my childhood and will be back there on the 10th. Does anyone have any idea if there are any hole in the wall Soccer bars anywhere on Oahu that would even have enough interest from folks to get the ppv? Unless something changes, which I have some faith it will I'm thinking I'm screwed out of watching this one. A delayed broadcast on a mainstream channel would have to do as I'm not expecting to run into many spoilers.

I'm thinking sports bars near military bases might be my best bet, but I really don't know where to start.

As for tonight, I'll be watching on the TV. I've long been signed up to do some building and grounds work at my kid's preschool, and we won't be done in time for me to get down to RFK before the kickoff.

Vamos United! I sure hope the crowd let's Montero and Zakuani have it with every fish flop they make tonight.
Montero.
HE's A LIAR!

Posted by: DadRyan | September 12, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I love this country.

Posted by: redskinsux | September 12, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

STORY: For several years, a nearby HS AD (a former football coach) would not allow the soccer teams to practice on "his" field. If weather threatened on game day, he would stand at the field and would try to cancel the game.

He retired and a more enlighten person took his place. Result: More equal treatment for all sports.

I agree that there is an issue; however, in this case I'd say its more the ESPNitwits, not the state of soccer. If ESPNitwits had executives who grew up on something other than baseball bats, hoops, pigskins, etc. (not that I'm opposed to those sports, mind you) we might be getting a more favorable response.

What puzzles me is Fox Soccer. Where are they in all of these discussions?

Posted by: carnack | September 12, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I guess if people can sue in American courts for emotional damages, I don't see a problem with us putting a player in the DL for being a headcase.

Posted by: M__N | September 12, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

no_recess:

Vaughn played everywhere in the back four for Chivas, as well as defensive midfield and right midfield (the latter due to injuries). Mostly, though, he played right back, followed by center back.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | September 12, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Espanyol has a gorgeous new stadium....but went back to ugly Montjuic for their Real Madrid game (and 45k attendance).

Posted by: Reignking | September 12, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree that there is an issue; however, in this case I'd say its more the ESPNitwits, not the state of soccer. If ESPNitwits had executives who grew up on something other than baseball bats, hoops, pigskins, etc. (not that I'm opposed to those sports, mind you) we might be getting a more favorable response.

What puzzles me is Fox Soccer. Where are they in all of these discussions?

Posted by: carnack | September 12, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

-------------------------------------------

Yes, it's certainly the fault of ... of, wait, I was distracted reading about the full HD coverage that ESPN/ABC will give the World Cup next year ... where was I, oh, that's right, the US/Honduras situation can only be blamed on ... oh, wait, I'm getting a text from someone asking me if I have been watching the EPL in HD on Saturday mornings on ESPN2 ... what was I saying, oh, yeah, this is a horrible decision by ... hold on again, please, I just saw a commercial for a weekly match from La Liga on ESPN2 ...

So what was it you were saying about ESPN again?

I don't believe this guy for a second. Not one bit. But even if he is right and ESPN passed on the match, that doesn't indicate anything about their overall strategy based on the actual facts, like them covering two major European leagues, showing all of the WC in HD with studio personnel based in South Africa and the fact that the only US World Cup qualifying matches they don't do are ones that other people control the rights to.

Additionally, if you're going to throw ESPN under the bus for having some vendetta against soccer because the people making decisions grew up with other sports, you should Google the name "John Skipper" and read up about him.

Posted by: beach3 | September 12, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

What Goff layed out is what things are looking like now and the worst-case scenario... but it ain't over yet.

Some observations/things to note:
1) Soccer on television is simply not a substantial money-maker in this country. It's just not a television revenue-friendly sport. When rights pass through multiple organizations, nobody is going to move it for less than they paid for it - each handoff involves someone taking profit. At some point, acquiring rights from the third or fourth owner gets to be cost-prohibitive.

2) USA-Honduras is on a Saturday, which is the biggest problem in terms of getting it on television. College football dominates ESPN's channels on Saturdays in October. That's why soccer games (like last week) get relegated to Classic, which has lower distribution and commands lower ad rates. It's why USA-Honduras at RFK in 2001 was a 10 a.m. ET kickoff. It's also why ESPN no longer gives MLS a regular Saturday timeslot throughout it's season. College football is more television-friendly and more advertiser/sponsor friendly, which makes it a smart move for ESPN to give preference to it over soccer. This is a battle we simply aren't going to win any time soon.

3) Fox Soccer Channel dropped a boatload of money on rights to Champions League. They're probably happy to minimize expenses the rest of the way. Their business model is to have attractive enough properties that they can grow the number of households they're in, demand higher subscriber fees (or graduate up to a more widespread tier), etc. It's not necessarily a wise business decision to drop six figures on rights to a stand-alone game that you still have to pay to produce and that isn't going to get you into more households and increase your revenues from subscriber fees, since it's a one-off. Looking at the type of buyers that purchase ads on FSC, I doubt ads alone would offset the cost of the rights.

All that being said, I would hope the rights-holders could find a way to offer it in homes on PPV, even if it's only via DirecTV or Dish.

My feelings are that long-term (in terms of developing the market of soccer as a television property), it'd be smart for SUM (Soccer United Marketing, which is largely responsible for managing MLS and U.S. Soccer's television dealings) to not evaluate this opportunity from strictly a ROI perspective and look at it more as "what you have to do for the good of the game".

What's my prediction as to how this will play out? Nothing will change until like October 1, then someone will blink very late in the process and scramble to get things done. I doubt it'll be ESPN or FSC, for the reasons I outline above. It may be something like GolTV or PPV on DirecTV or Dish (or something online?)...

Posted by: thissitestinks | September 13, 2009 3:32 AM | Report abuse

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