First the bad news: Saturday’s USA vs. Chile game will not be on ESPN. Or ESPN2. Or even The Ocho.
ESPN have their reasons. The simplest reason is that the game happens Saturday night (10pm Eastern), the same time as Michigan State vs Purude on ESPN and the Australian Open on ESPN2. A USA team of no-name players vs. a similarly starless Chile just can’t compete. And I believe The Ocho shows only dodgeball tournaments.
The slightly more complex reason, at least according to the very trustworthy Steven Goff at the Washington Post is that ESPN’s contract with Soccer United Marketing only allows them to televise a set number of games per year.
With bigger games to come in 2011, like the glamorous friendly vs. Argentina in March (starring Leo Messi as Leo Messi) ESPN decided to pass on USA vs. Chile altogether. Which would explain why the game isn’t on ESPN Classic or ESPNU either. Fox Soccer Channel usually picks up these red-headed stepson games, but their agreement with S.U.M. has expired.
But now the slightly better news: The game will be available
on basic cable via Telefutura and will be streamed live on ESPN3.com.
US fans who’ve grown used to seeing every Men’s National Team game on the Worldwide Leader will be understandably disappointed. Maybe even angry. Maybe even sweary angry. I say: stop complaining. (Looking at you Taylor Rockwell)
Unless hearing comentarios en español gives you some sort of skin rash, then there’s no real reason you can’t watch Telefutura. Your eyes don’t care what language the commentators are speaking, and it’s not as if the words of John Harkes were going to change your life anyway. And while it’s true that ESPN3 is only available via certain internet providers, I’d argue that more people can access it than can’t, and those that can’t should be able to find the game via myp2p or atdhe.net anyway.
So no, the situation is not perfect. Soccer has once again been bumped to the sidelines because ESPN knows it can get better ratings with other sports. But this isn’t a new thing for soccer fans in America. It’s happened before and it will almost certainly happen again. It’s all part of being a fan. The good news is that thanks to both the internet and Spanish speaking Americans, we can now find and watch even the games that ESPN won’t put on television, with only the tiniest bit of extra effort. And that has to be a good thing.
USA vs Chile, Saturday Jan 22, 10pm Eastern, Telefutura or ESPN3.com
Listen to our USA vs Chile podcast preview to get the lowdown on Tim Ream, Mikkel Diskerud, Juan Agudelo and other players we’ll be pinning our hopes on come World Cup 2014: