Why USA vs Chile Won't Be on ESPN, and Why That's OK

January 18, 2011 Daryl 15 Comments

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:
[jwplayer config="Podcast Player" mediaid="602"]

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15 Comments → “Why USA vs Chile Won’t Be on ESPN, and Why That’s OK”

  1. Martin Banks 3 years ago   Reply

    Nice one Daz, I’ll be watching. My first USA game as a US resident :)

    • Daryl 3 years ago   Reply

      Welcome to America Mart, and welcome to supporting the USA. It’s like supporting England but without all the horrible tabloid stuff.

  2. Taylor Rockwell 3 years ago   Reply

    For the record, I believe that was Josh who posted the “pisses me off” Facebook comment… So… Uh… HOW DARE YOU!

    • Daryl 3 years ago   Reply

      Too late now Taylor, it’s been on the internet and is therefore both actual and factual.

  3. Dools 3 years ago   Reply

    Is Telefutura really basic cable? I (think)I only get it because I subscribe to the Comcast spanish package with ESPN Deportes and Fox Soccer Espanol…

  4. G 3 years ago   Reply

    Telefutura isnt cable at all, just one of a handful of Spanish language channels. Its owned by Univision and (at least in L.A.) is channel 46.

    • Daryl 3 years ago   Reply

      Dools, G,

      My mistake. I should know by now that TV options vary by provider and region, and that what’s true for Verizon in Richmond, VA isn’t necessarily true elsewhere. Apologies if I misled anyone.

  5. todd 3 years ago   Reply

    Its ok, I have to listen to foreigners explain soccer games STILL because some idiots think it makes them sound more legit than Bobby who went to Cal State so I really dont mind listening to spanish.

    at least the spanish arent going to say tie instead of game and wont use the whole combination of pace/pacey instead of what we say here “he is very fast, he is very quick, he’s a speedy little winger”.

    NO ONE HAS EVER said “That OchoCinco is a pretty pacey player or theyre bringing in TO to bring a little more pace to teh offense”.

    If I have to sit through that on TV, listening to a game in spanish is a blessing.

    • Daryl 3 years ago   Reply

      Good points Todd, though I fear TSS has been guilty of all of the above at one time or another! I agree that “tie” is just wrong instead of game (especially if it’s a league match, looking at you again Taylor Rockwell) but, as a foreigner myself, I reserve my right to say pacey.

  6. Brian 3 years ago   Reply

    I don’t really care because I’m going to the damn game! And should we be surprised that ESPN didn’t pick up this game? The January friendly is almost always picked up by FSC isn’t it? It’s a bunch of young guns, Scandinavian players and average MLS players. We only care because we’re USMNT and MLS nerds. We live for this sh*t. The average fan doesn’t, and therefore ESPN doesn’t either. The average fun doesn’t know who the hell Eugene Starikov or Ryan Miller is.

    Even if I wasn’t going to this game, I’d watch it on Telefutura. I don’t speak Spanish, but I don’t mind watching games in Spanish. I find that it helps me focus on the game more than I do when I’m listening to the ramblings of Harkes and JP.

    For those of you that don’t get Telefutura, I’d suggest getting a VGA Cord or HDMI cord (if you’re laptop/computer has that output) and hooking it up to your TV and watching the game on ESPN3.

  7. Daryl 3 years ago   Reply

    “We only care because we’re USMNT and MLS nerds. We live for this sh*t. The average fan doesn’t, and therefore ESPN doesn’t either.”

    I think that hits the nail on the head. Good news is we can (mostly) still watch it.

    There’s still the small problem that not everyone can get ESPN3 because it’s only available via certain internet providers (if you have a small company as your provider, you might not get it).

  8. Jose 3 years ago   Reply

    I’m from Hawaii, so I didn’t even know Telefutura existed before reading this post, so ESPN3 it is!

  9. Josh 3 years ago   Reply

    Brian, I am quite jealous of you cheer on the mighty yanks loud and proud. And as for the coverage, I hope against hope that the gentleman that did the Schalke 04 vs Bayern Munich game for ESPN3 is the commentator. Sorry I can’t recall his name.

    • Daryl 3 years ago   Reply

      Josh, It’s still an ESPN broadcast so it will most likely be the usual ESPN crew. Harkes et al.

  10. jay 3 years ago   Reply

    Its a shame that the national team was not broadcasted on at least one American channel. Countries in Latin America and Europe fill town squares to watch a national team play, but in America they can’t even air it on the sport channel (ESPN). But they can air high school football and baseball crap all the time. It just puzzles me why US is not getting the message that soccer (football outside USA borders) is the world’s game, not the American football. No one cares about the American football outside of its borders. Why don’t American people realize that Soccer is a great opportunity for the American economy. Maybe in foreseeable future teams from all over the world can compete annually, for instance European teams compete annually in Champions league. Such an event would not only be beneficial for the American economy but a global economy as well, after all soccer is the worlds beautiful game.

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