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Global May 18, 2012

June 12 U.S. World Cup qualifier in Guatemala to be broadcast via pay-per-view

By Charles Boehm

If you’re a longtime U.S. soccer fan, get ready for a blast from the past, a throwback to the “dark ages” of past decades, when the sport was nearly impossible to find on television and big games could be aggravating difficult to watch.

The U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming CONCACAF World Cup 2014 qualifier in Guatemala City, set for 10:00 p.m. ET on June 12, will be available on pay-per-view only, according to Washington Post reports that were confirmed by the U.S. Soccer Federation on Friday.

The host country controls television rights to these types of international matches, and the Guatemalan federation has sold those rights, prompting a sequence of transactions which all add up to U.S. fans being forced to purchase the broadcast of the important match for $29.95 in order to watch it at home.

“Under CONCACAF guidelines, the host federation holds TV rights,” wrote Steven Goff, the Post’s veteran soccer reporter. “As I understand it, the Guatemalan federation sold them to MediaWorld, a global entertainment company, which in turn sold them to Traffic Sports USA, a Miami outfit. Traffic partnered with Integrated Sports Media, a New Jersey company specializing in pay-per-view events…ISM will carry four other CONCACAF qualifiers in June and several in September and October.”

At least one bar – and probably many – in the U.S. will be hosting a viewing party for the game, which looks like the Yanks’ most difficult match in an opening qualifying group round also featuring Antigua & Barbuda and Jamaica. So far Nevada Smith’s in New York City is the only confirmed bar venue for the Guatemala game; Summer’s in Arlington, Va. has previously hosted viewings in similar situations.

The USMNT’s road games in those nations may also wind up on pay-per-view in the U.S. Rights to the National Team’s home games, the first of which is against Antigua & Barbuda in Tampa on June 8, are held by ESPN.

[ +Read the official announcement from ISM here ]

[ +Read the frequently-asked questions page U.S. Soccer has posted about this viewing situation ]

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