I haven't picked a side in the Honduras crisis, probably because I sleep at night knowing that no one in Honduras is waiting for my opinion. Jeré Longman of the New York Times had a good article on the political background, as it relates to the game. If I had to guess, the political crisis won't affect the game - if only because I assume Micheletti will take whatever steps necessary to guarantee the safety of the US and its fans.
Apart from that, to my cynical eye there's no way either side of this ends up being "the good guys." I choose to be optimistic that the nation of Honduras is apparently choosing to put their national team over their political turmoil. It's a course of action I approve of completely and unhesitatingly, and I advocate a similar policy for federal, state and local politics here in America.
Hey, does anyone know what channel the game's gonna be on Saturday? Like, ESPN Classic or ESPNU or maybe even ESPN2? I can't find it anywhere. See, this is why we need something like soccertv.com.
(Do I need to explain that last sentence? Sure, anyone who's been on the board for more than eight years or so is just dying of laughter right now, but everyone else is like "huh?")
(By the way - don't go to soccertv.com. My work computer wouldn't even open the page, reason: "Malware." And I really need to be careful at work, because clearly I'm not gonna make a living picking MLS games. But that's a topic for later this week, because right now I'm still shell-shocked about LA being in first place and Seattle beating Columbus.)
It's easy to be annoyed with the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network for failing to outbid the CCCP (Council of Closed-Circuit Providers). But neither did, among many other people, Fox Soccer Channel, Telemundo, Univision, or even the USSF itself.
But - again, me being cynical - it's a Saturday in mid-October. You know what else is going on in the world of sports? Everything. Everything from baseball to college football to NASCAR to hockey to whining about the Olympics. It's a nasty reminder of where soccer still stands in the American sports pantheon.
Anyway, I looked at the "About Us" page for the company that is handling the closed-circuit distribution and...well, maybe someone who knows more about the situation can read between the lines here and tell me I'm wrong.
But...these guys seem perfectly capable of organizing pay-per-views on cable. They chose closed-circuit for a reason, and I don't think it's because they hate soccer. I think they just like money a lot more.
Lemme quote Monster in the thread on this topic over in Business & Media real quick:
In the year of Our Lord 2009, America's sports media don't think there are enough Nats fans to justify making this game accessible.
We're used to the USSF forgoing big paydays for long-term benefit - scheduling the US-Mexico game in Crew Stadium, for instance. So we sort of expected the Fed to step in and, I don't know, buy the rights and hand them over to a more accessible broadcaster. That may not have been possible at any price to begin with, but multiplying middlemen and artificially deflating the value of US road games doesn't strike me as any more sensible long-term than short-term.
Also, the USSF isn't particularly interested in overthrowing this system...not while they have the right to sell Mexico games played on US soil.
"Why don't they take some of THAT money, and put it aside for road qualifiers like this?" Because it's not profitable, because they don't have to, because the potential for gaining new soccer fans during the busiest time on the sports calendar is miniscule, because maybe they'd rather spend it on actual brick-and-mortar (or grass-and-net) programs, because there's no upside in rocking the boat.
I was about to say something like "Once soccer is popular here, all this will go away." May be not. Monster also linked to the Guardian article about a similar fracas about an England road game. I think we'd settle for an internet-only option for the Honduras game, at this point. But I would have taken it for granted that the national sport would have found an actual television broadcaster in freaking England. I wonder if that's our future as well, no matter how popular soccer becomes in the United States.