It’s U.S.A vs. Honduras…At a Bar Near You!

To see the current, but growing list of English-broadcast view locations click here.

This is Part 2 (and maybe the final one) to our Part 1 on USA-Honduras WCQ TV Rights.

Well, we’re still digging over here at TSG. We’ll keep digging up until 10/10. Then we’ll take a vacation to the Kandui Island.

How deep have we dug? At this point, we’re looking through binoculars now, although we have not adjusted the focus and the view is still a little fuzzy. That’s where we are.

US fans are getting the rough treat from Honduras as well.

US fans are getting rougher treatment than Rogers just trying to watch the game.

TSG had a few follow-ups this week with Media World, the company that is handling Media World’s close circuit distribution, a USMNT-devoted bar owner, and Traffic Sports USA.

Today’s conversation with the Vice President of Traffic Sports USA Enrique Sanz de Santamaria was by far the most illuminating from a background perspective. Sanz de Santamaria is responsible for TV Rights for Traffic Sports USA and is based out of Miami. Traffic Sports USA handles most of the broadcast rights distribution for games from Central and South America.

Every USMNT fan should remember that (“very long”) name above because Sanz had really no vested interest in speaking with TSG and if he is/was misquoted stands to lose more, yet he took the time to carefully lay out the landscape of broadcast rights management in the region, provide us some hypotheticals and, in general, educate TSG.

And an additional note on Traffic Sports USA, all those away 2010 US WCQ games that you’ve seen on ESPN was the results of deals through Traffic Sports.

A big thank you to Mr. Sanz from TSG and our readers.

Here’s what we learned that we didn’t know:

• Each National Federation controls the rights of their home games but all of them are under CONCACAF and FIFA.

• Traffic Sports USA had a legal dispute with the Honduras Federation over who had the rights to broadcast the game. A court ruling gave the Honduras Federation the right to keep the contract they have with Media World.

Now for the good stuff:

• It seems close circuit distribution is still a viable way to make good money on a TV broadcast, specifically when you analyze the number of Hondurans in the United States, the per establishment rate for a game, and the Hondurans passions for their country sport. (I would love some feedback from a bar whose primary demographic is Hondurans–it would be valuable to this story I believe)

• Residential PPV is actually a new model for distributing these games. Hence, our suggestion earlier this week that the game be made available via residential pay per view now comes at a discount, because the economics are not tried, tested and true. It’s more of a risk for the rights holder.

• Finally, Sanz surmises (and I must highlight surmises) that negotiations at this point between MediaPro and the TV Networks, given the close circuit efforts to date and the timing until the broadcast, are likely over. The past statement is, at best, a guess (though from someone who has been there) and should be received as such.

Take a good look at Estadio Olympica. Next time you'll see it is at a bar.

Take a good look at Estadio Olympica. Next time you'll see it is at a bar.

So where does that leave the USMNT fan? Probably at their local pub. Where does that leave the average under-21 fan who FIFA and should care about? SOL.

Thankfully, there are bar owners like Phil McFarland, who owns the Small Bar on Division Street in Chicago and is a very passionate supporter of the Yanks.

In our first plug since the Free Benny t-shirt endeavor, we’re promoting Phil’s bar for our Chicago readers come 10/10.

No, we don’t get a kickback, but you get to visit a bar where the owner is passionate about U.S. soccer, where the owner is attentive to his patronage’s affinity enough to seek out how to get the game, and perhaps more incredibly,  a bar where you get Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY!), North Coast (a favorite brewer of mine) and Bitburger on tap. I don’t know if there are cakes in the urinals, but everything else sounds grand.

Back to our story, Phil was helpful in letting us know that typical close circuit sports feeds go for anywhere between $250 – $1000 for his establishment. Feeds are sometimes charged by occupancy rate so the actual fee can vary.

The fee for the U.S. Honduras game for Phil’s bar: $1020.

Additionally, as Phil pointed out, it’s the big fighting matches–which are heavily promoted in advance by the contenders–that fetch the top dollars. Certainly not a U.S.-Honduras game getting sporadic press with a smaller fanbase in the U.S.

In Phil’s own words:

“We don’t ever do PPV anything. But that’s more than big boxing events, which are usually really hyped in the media before hand. Really too bad, not a great time for restricted access to USMNT…

We’ll pay it and try to charge a cover to recoup. Def a crap shoot.”

Thanks for taking the risk on your side Phil. If we were Windy City folk, I’d get there early and run up a huge Hennepin tab.

So it would seem there is a premium being put on this game and if bars/establishments are willing to pay the top dollar and MediaPro can make back their investment and then some, it would be logical for them to go the close circuit route.

What do fans do with their angst then? Sadly, or thankfully, however you look at it, since this is unique to WCQ events, it is probably the last time through 2010 that USMNT games will be confronted with this unique situation.

The L.A. Times reported yesterday of an upcoming friendly for the U.S. team in the Netherlands (we knew our Heitinga comments would come to pass!) in March of next year. U.S. Soccer should be able to have a say in how broadcast rights are distributed in this one.

So the best bet is if your 21, head to your local bar.

If you’re under 21, fly out to San Francisco and we’ll sneak you in somewhere.

How about preventing this for next time? Well, in four years, maybe everyone will forget these broadcast issues. But I’m going to put this on U.S. Soccer to educate and keep the populace informed in advance of how broadcast rights are doled out.

Why? It seem to me that a Honduras game against say…Lichtenstein (no offense) would be less of a draw than against the United States.

So, while it probably won’t come to pass that FIFA will change their “your house, your rules” decisioning in broadcast rights–by mandating anything that is restrictive at all, FIFA would compromise the leverage of the broadcast negotiations and essentially everyone would lose–big nations (Italy, U.S., England, Brazil) are the only ones that could push FIFA to do anything differently.

That being said, the U.S. might compromise revenues from their games, which arguably fetch a higher dollar, than said Lichtenstein so the U.S. might lose as well.

A convoluted situation all around.

We’ve reached out again to CONCACAF, FIFA, and asked U.S. Soccer for any additional comment. We’ll post those if or when they come in.

Oh and one more note, I noted this article where Traffic Sports USA made the game available via PPV. It appeared to me that CONCACAF president and FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, a Trinidadian, stepped in made sure the game would be available to the T&T demographic in the U.S. via pay-per-view. So it appears there’s a precedent of FIFA officials stepping in…but maybe only when it matters to them individually.

BAR OWNERS: If you’re a bar owner showing the USA-Honduras soccer match, send us an email at and we’ll add you to our “bar roll” on the right sidebar.

15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/25 at 6:37 PM

    By the way, seems FIFA and Honduras want the game to stay in Honduras–with the airport back open, looks like USMNT troops are still headed there.


  2. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/09/25 at 10:03 PM

    can we get some love for the u-20 team? they play tomorrow morning at 7 pacific time and i havent heard much of aanythng about them from you guys. . .i wonder if Mesut Ozil is featuring on the German squad. but he probably shouldnt since he’s such a damn beast. Do you know any players to watch for our side?


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/25 at 11:06 PM

      It’s pretty tough to cover the U-20 team as most players are not televised. Its hard to have real educated commentary without a lot of observations.

      A few guys to look out for are Mikkel Diskerud in the midfield (although he sounds like a bit of a mercentary who flipped a coin between Norway and the U.S.)

      Ike Opara comes out of the soccer factory called Wake Forest and is a solid standup defender.

      Maybe I’ll try and watch some tomorrow.


  3. […] Nicknames « It’s U.S.A vs. Honduras…At a Bar Near You! […]


  4. Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/09/26 at 10:32 AM

    so we lost 3-0. but the game was closer than the scoreline indicates. i’d say posession was around 50-50 or 52-48 us. goals in the 30′ & 32′ the former coming off a pk on a bonehead challenge by Ownby(who i might say looks like he’s on chemo’). the final goal was in the 72′. it was probably one of the better 3-0 losses ive seen(i know it sounds crazy) but germany’s goalkeeper was on point.

    Jared Jeffery hit the cross bar on a “boomboosa” from about 30 out. Tony Taylor #7 reminds me a lot of charlie davies in a scary kind of way: he likes to run at players and is around the same height. pretty quick also. Brian Arguez made his presence shown(2nd half only) he was like a premonition of JJ apearing for the senior squad

    Diskerud showed great ball control but he needs to work on his peripheral vision not to mention he’s slow as hell. Gerson Mayen was ok at RB both defending and getting forward(at least for the 1st half).

    Probably oneof the biggest wingers ive ever seen(Shea) was pretty active on the outside, but he’s also kinda slow. He wins the award for haircut of the year. its like a faded mohawk with spikes and a mullet. . and he’s blonde.

    And last but not least(leaving out the terrible center back play of Abgossumawhatshisface and Ike Opara(especially), ive spotted a BF Jr.! Dilly Duka baby! Came on as a sub late in the 2nd and he weaved through traffic like he was late for a wedding anniversary. Didnt get many touches but when he did it was pretty.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/26 at 11:31 AM

      Watched most of the game — flipped between that and Hull-Liverpool until Hull/Liverpool was 72-1 Reds.

      I actually thought the Americans looked terrible. They couldn’t link together any passes. Tony Taylor was about the only guy that created chances. Despite two nice little flicks from Brek Shea, he was slow and seemed to be scolding his teammates too much.

      I didn’t know what to expect and I always acknowledge it’s hard come togeter as a team without a lot of reps, but I thought Germany pretty much dominated.

      Agree though Opara seemed to be playing like this was a collegiate game–acknowledging his fouls by theatrics and not making challenges hard enough.


      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2009/09/26 at 5:59 PM

        Horrific and disorgaized team play aside – if you look on the bright side we d have some nice individual talent. Taylor, Duka(we have to come up with a name for this kid. . .or maybe his govt name is a nickname in itself), Mayen.

        One notable thing thought is our center middies and Shea – they’re all really big and really slow. they need to hit the sand dunes when the tournament ends

        and one more thing. only good players relative to the field of competition should get crazy/outgoing haircuts(Opara & Shea somewhat). Arguez was okay though


  5. Posted by Matthew N on 2009/09/26 at 12:43 PM

    If you’re a real fan of American soccer you should boycott any bar that shows this shit. People who don’t live in big cities are completely fucked.. I couldn’t even tell you the closest “soccer” bar to me. Make these media companies lose money.. this is bullshit..


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/26 at 1:34 PM

      Okay Matthew N, while I understand you’re a fan, I’ll dispute a few of your illogical comments.

      Real fans, fake fans, casual fans…they can and should do whatever they want. A statement about boycotting a bar is not going to change anything until soccer viewership goes up in the U.S. or advertisers are more aggressive sponsoring the sport.

      The media companies would most likely lose money at a price that is above what MediaPro can gain going through the CC market–so if they bought the rights they’d lose the money.

      I do understand your angst and to me what is perplexing is how an alleged corrupt FIFA Vice President can change things — that suggests to me that their backroom dealings that can make this happen–which in and of itself is sad.


  6. Posted by Kevin on 2009/09/26 at 1:58 PM

    This sucks to me because even if I could find a soccer bar somewhere in my Houston suburb I still couldn’t get in because I’m not 21 and I’m not even 18. All I know is that they should atleast make it pay-per-view. I like your idea though I think I’ll hop on a plane and let u sneak me in somewhere. I’m jk.
    Quick question on the U-20 squad though did Danny Cruz happen to get any playing time? Off of the little bit I’ve seen from him with the Dynamo he seems promising, maybe not star promising but someone who might make the national team eventually (even for a small stint)


  7. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/26 at 2:10 PM

    You Kevin in my mind have a major case. I’m not sure how FIFA, U.S. Soccer can ask you to be a fan and support the team if they provide you an avenue to watch the game.

    I don’t think Cruz played, but remember most of these players are new to me so he might have. I’ve seen Cruz play with Dynamo and remember thinking he was a good player.

    For some reason I get Cruz confused with Danny Estrada out of UCLA — I always thought that guy would blow up after his freshman year NCAA tourney.


  8. Posted by kaya on 2009/09/26 at 8:44 PM

    I don’t usually rely on pubs to provide access to games for me, but obviously, I’m going to this time around. Fighting the injustice of the man, the system, or whatnot, is a few years behind me.
    Maybe I don’t give the bar enough credit, but I just don’t get the impression that Kezar would show the game. My gut tells me it’s even less likely Mad Dog would show the game, but maybe that’s part of my inexplicable bias towards Kezar.
    Pass on what you know about the SF pub scene!


  9. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/27 at 11:51 AM

    @kaya – in the words of Chali 2na from J5: BAY…….Area.

    I’m going to call up Kell’s, see if they have the game– typically the place I go because it’s a little quieter and have good tv locations — that’s in North Beach.

    Mad Dog’s got too many Euros and Kezar is all buffalo wings and football fans.

    Also the Blackthorne in the Inner Sunset has good viewing.

    Again, will have to find out who has this game.

    The Connecticut Yankee is another option, but I won’t go there because it’s a BoSox bar. How the hell are you a Sox bar with the name Yankee….morons.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/10/01 at 10:28 AM


      Danny Coyles is the only bar showing the game thus far. Emailed the Blackthorne and they insisted to me that the game was on ESPN2 — so I believe that’s out.

      If Kell’s has it, I’ll go there, but current plan is Danny Coyles down on Lower Haight and then probably over to Toronado/Rosamunde for killer brats and beer afterward.


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