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When Will International Matches via CCTV Die?

During an international break, it’s an unusual experience watching Euro 2008 qualifiers in the United States. The most talked about match, England against Israel, isn’t even on U.S. television (it’s only available via pay-per-view, so you have a choice between paying $30 to watch it at home, or pay $20 at the pub).

So, if you instead choose to watch Fox Soccer Channel on Saturday, you get to see three live matches which are ‘B’ matches that will be very predictable and won’t create much excitement:

  • Russia v Macedonia, 11am ET
  • San Marino v Czech Republic, 2pm ET
  • Iceland v Spain, 4pm ET

Setanta Sports, meanwhile, will be showing ‘B’ matches also such as:

  • Malta v Turkey, 4:30pm ET
  • Serbia v Finland, 6:30pm ET

The only exception from Setanta is the ‘A’ match between Sweden and Denmark at 2:30pm ET.

More interesting matches are available via pay-per-view (whether it’s at home or at your local pub). Those matches include:

  • Slovakia v Ireland, 2:30pm ET
  • Portugal v Poland, 4pm ET

The best pick of the Euro 2008 qualifiers is GolTV’s 2:40pm ET showing of Italy versus France from the San Siro in Milan. This one match has more appeal than all of the above matches put together in a must-win match for Italy to give them a decent chance of qualifying for Euro 2008 next summer.

It’s a shame that some other good Euro 2008 matches being played this weekend aren’t available via TV or closed-circuit TV or pay-per-view. These include Holland v Bulgaria, Scotland against Lithuania and Wales versus Germany.

To me, the United States has the coverage of the Premier League mastered with Fox Soccer Channel and Setanta Sports dividing the best matches and providing an exceptional viewing experience (in quality and quantity). When it comes to international matches, Setanta Sports switches its allegiance from paying customers to pubs across the nation. As a result, the people at home are forced to go to the pub if they want to watch a match.

Sure, international matches is a selling point for Setanta to provide these closed-circuit TV (CCTV) packages to pubs, but the quality of football on display — for the most part — doesn’t justify the expense (for the pub owner or person paying $20). For me, the Champions League is far more entertaining than international football, but I do hope that the matches this weekend prove me wrong.

It’s time for soccer international matches via closed-circuit TV to die a quick death. In modern times like now where so much football coverage available via broadband, it’s crazy to force soccer fans to pay $20 to watch at a pub. If pubs want to bring fans into their establishments to watch matches, the pubs need to do more to win the punters hard-earned money. Offer free admission with the purchase of a pint. Create a soccer experience that fans where fans will want to leave their couches and drive to their nearest pub. Is that too hard to ask?

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  1. Anonymous

    September 11, 2007 at 1:45 pm now offers Euro 2008 qualifiers via pay-per-view Internet broadband.

  2. Rob

    September 10, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    In SF if you go to the Mad Dog, they have in the past charged $20, but you also get coupons for $20 to spend on food/drink, which is just fine with me.

  3. Anonymous

    September 9, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Are you advocating drink driving?

  4. Anonymous

    September 8, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Don’t forget GOlTV and it’s France v. Italy! Also on TV5 USA.

  5. The Gaffer

    September 8, 2007 at 3:13 am


    Precisely. Well said.

    That was one of the questions I forgot to ask Fox Soccer Channel’s Dermot McQuarrie when I interviewed him earlier this season — whether FSC will continue to only show FA Cup Finals on PPV and, if so, why.

    The Gaffer

  6. Charlie

    September 7, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    This is not about international matches per se, but it’s along the same lines… I will be on holiday in Las Vegas the week of 17 Sept. I’ve already located an Irish pub in Sin City that will be showing Man Utd’s Champions League fixture 19 Sept on their big screen TV’s. The cover charge is $20. Of course I’ll end up ordering some food and drinking a couple of pints of Guinness… and if the server is female, doesn’t spill my Guinness and has a pretty smile and a hot body, she’ll get a tip… so add at least another $40 on top of the cover charge.

    I have DirecTV at the house, so I watch a lot of EPL/UEFA from the comfort of my couch. I’m only going to this pub to watch the match because I’ll be on holiday and thus I want to have some fun and relax. But I certainly couldn’t afford to do this for every match.

    This is one of the things that sucks about being a supporter of a big club like United — people like the FA consider it a license to go ahead and screw you by making you pay wherever and whenever it can. Do you really think an FA Cup tie between (for example) Wigan and Derby County is ever going to end up on Pay Per View here in the States? (Barring the Miracle of All Miracles, of course, that those two sides should actually end up in the Final… And if hell should freeze over and this match actually came to pass, would the FA still charge $24.95 to watch it on PPV? *LOL*)

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