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CONCACAF Gold Cup: FSC Drops the Ball


As I discussed yesterday I love the Gold Cup. Perhaps the tournament needs to be moved back to February or made once every four years but I do support the event wholeheartedly.

The United States is in CONCACAF and I have made an effort to understand the rest of CONCACAF as well as I understand the USMNT. I certainly hope that has reflected in the coverage on this website and in my other work.

I take pride in being told by other media members that I was one of the few American based analysts who tipped Guadeloupe to be strong in the last Gold Cup or that pointed out that Honduras was without two of its most critical players in last month’s qualifier.

But the sad reality is to follow CONCACAF as closely as I feel I need to do so in order to provide objective and worthwhile coverage of the US Men’s National Team, I have to rely almost exclusively on Spanish language media to learn what I feel I should learn about our national team.

Knowing CONCACAF well also provides excellent scouting for MLS and USL-1/USL-2 for signing players. Just yesterday Seattle signed an excellent player, Leonardo Gonzalez who should have been signed by an MLS club years ago.

Fox Soccer Channel has the rights to the Gold Cup in English for the United States. Yet, as they did in 2005 and 2007 they are only showing games involving the United States. If someone who really wants to scout the players and learn the region wants to develop an understanding for the playing field the US faces (and MLS/USL teams in CONCACAF) we must rely on the Univision family of networks.

In the meantime, FSC shows reruns of alleged classic English Premier League games including the likes of Stoke City and West Brom. As I discussed during the Confederations Cup it would be great to have some sort of original FSC programming on US Soccer aside from the outstanding USL Breakaways show which is league produced.

Can you imagine a studio show with Max Bretos and Christopher Sullivan breaking down the US Confederations Cup run? Instead we get an FSC produced show of Manchester United highlights hosted by Nick Webster.

Summer is when football matters in the United States. Yet our most visible all football channels seem to think only the English and Italian game matters. Sure they show USL on Friday night, MLS on Saturday nights and WPS on Sunday nights but these seem to be afterthoughts in the bigger FSC thinking. No effort is given by the network to build the brand of US Soccer on the channel beyond Gold Cup matches.

For those who say “well the English Premier League and Serie A get more viewers,” please point to the EPL or Serie A game in the last ten years that got more US based viewers or media coverage than the two USMNT games last week in the Confederations Cup.

FSC has a tremendous asset in Christopher Sullivan and Max Bretos. Both know CONCACAF well and understand the culture of football in a way that no ESPN on air personalities do. Yet FSC limits their exposure and the exposure of anything North American.

To get our football news we must go beyond FSC, and as the rights holder for CONCACAF events, MLS, WPS and USL this is quite disappointing.

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  1. Erik

    July 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    FSC has gone to $hite. But then I expect little else from the folks who gave us Faux News and the moneygrubbers in CONCACAF.

    Great post, and hope some one at NewsCorp takes heed, but I doubt it.

    I’ve been wondering for a while why MLS doesn’t mandate English SAP on their matches broadcast on Spanish-language channels. Those channels are already a part of a lot of cable and satellite plans. The ratings boost would be a boon to both the netwroks and the league.

  2. Chris

    July 5, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Mexican football, Spanish sucks and Portuguese rules.

    anyhow…i was little pissed that FSC didnt even show the opening cermonies. they had a pre game show but didnt show the opening cermonies of the game like the national anthems. but anyhow…i like seeing the EPL and Italian Serie A re runs but they should shedule them when thier isnt something on live like during the CONCACAF tournament during the week day…Leave a opening space for them show a live game.

  3. Greg

    July 5, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    I agree on pretty much everything you said except your comments about Max and Christopher. Terrible announcers and the less we seehear from them the better.

  4. Joe in Indianapolis

    July 4, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Totally agree. FSC should be the one channel that actually does this. Maybe it’s time for a new soccer-specific channel to come along. I’m still waiting for ESPN-Soccer. One day it will happen.

  5. Jeff

    July 3, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Agree with Lars and Kartik.

    CONCACAF has made this tournament a joke by allowing the US to add 7 players to their roster that can stay with their clubs until “called in” and by allowing Mexico to add Guille Franco as the tournament begins. It seem like CONCACAF will bend or even rewrite rules to benefit the two superpowers in the region.

    FSC is a joke, but we knew that already. CONCACAF however is showing that $$$$$ is still all Jack Warner cares about.

  6. Lars

    July 3, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    FSC almost dropped the ball as much as CONCACAF did with it’s ridiculous bias against non-US/Mexican teams…

  7. John Harris

    July 3, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    FSC is simply EPL TV in the US. But the majority of football fans in this country don’t watch the EPL. The two most popular brands in this country are the Mexican National Team and the US National Team. Now the club game is different- there the most popular brand is Man U and then Liverpool. Real Madrid is high on the list also.

    FSC’s inability to realize the international game, ie national teams drive interest in this game here is why they are always hard up for $$$ airing informercials at odd times of the day. ESPN shows MLS and now La Liga but they understand the national team and international soccer, including the Euros, Confed Cup and World Cup are what sell.

    Americans in mass don’t get the club game. It’s too complicated and “foreign,” whereas international soccer makes sense- it’s like a year round constant Olympics. Mexico vs Germany makes more sense to most Americans than Hull City vs Birmingham City.

    FSC will remain a small niche premium channel unless they step up their game and build it around American brands, or brands that appeal to large swaths of the American public.

  8. The Gaffer

    July 3, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    All CONCACAF Gold Cup games are now available via MLS Talk sponsor OmniSport. They’re the official online partner for the Gold Cup. Each match is shown online for $5.99 and are available world-wide.

    Check it out at

    Thanks for supporting MLS Talk.

    The Gaffer

  9. adam

    July 3, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    This piece is so good I forwarded it verbatim to FSC’s comment email address. They need to read this and react.

  10. Mexican football

    July 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Kartik, stop. Just stop right now. It is infinitely BETTER to watch football with Spanish commentary than with English commentary. It is better for you to learn Spanish to enjoy the beautiful game. You should be happy that you have a reason to broaden your horizons and learn the most spoken language in the Western world. C’mon, man. Think of all the benefits for you in learning Spanish. More football enjoyment. Plus, all the new Miamians you could meet. Don’t be a lazybrain. Learn Spanish. You can do it, and your life will be better as a result.

    Just look at the difference between Spanish and English commentary here in the USA…

    Spanish: “Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes!!!!!! GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOALASO! GOALASO! GOALASO! GOALASO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ASO! ASO! ASO! ASO!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Then he’ll crack jokes like “I don’t think Bill Guadette wants to defend this last penalty kick! He doesn’t seem to want to walk to the goal. Calling Guadette! Calling 1-800-Guadette, will you please report to the goal?!”

    or during the Goats-Tigers game last week, “That Tigers defender just said “Gimme the ball or I’ll tell my mom on you!””

    or immediately after the Miracle on Grass… “I have seen the Miracle of the 21st Century!!!! And it has Red, White and Blue all over it!!!” Plus, you should have heard the Goal Call after Dempsey’s goal to put the usa up 2-0. I have never heard it more passionate and emotionally overwhelming. MUCH better than ESPN’s snooze call on that same goal.

    English commentary is more like: “and there’s the goal”. “he scores”. Or the excruciatingly annoying Bretos “Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

    If any Anglo here refuses to enjoy football in Spanish, he is only cheating himself. Football in American English is a borefest. In Spanish, you will have a ball. Learn the language, then enjoy your football. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself.

  11. jose

    July 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Try this e-mail address:

    Great article BTW…I’m puzzled as to why FSC shows no interest in building the MLS/CONCACAF brand, particularly since it’s all they have going on in the summer. For instance, why doesn’t MLS take it’s Extra Time show and broadcast it on FSC? If you’re an MLS fan, you get 5 minutes of analysis on Fox Soccer Report from some Scottish dude who could barely be bothered to read the player’s names off of a cue card! I get that the EPL and Serie A are the big dogs, but don’t you want to be a year round network!

  12. Alveraz

    July 3, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Excellent blog! I would have placed a direct link to FSC cutomer care or at least an email so those of us that agree can make a direct impact with an email to those at FSC making these poor decisions.

    Good luck!

  13. soccer goals

    July 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Good article. Thanks

  14. Jon

    July 3, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Good article. Just one thing to pass along. Commas are your friend. Your posts are sometimes really hard to read b/c the punctuation is so awful.

  15. eplnfl

    July 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    On point Kartik. FSC wants to be America’s Soccer Channel will show the games of interest to the American audience. If our “summer of Soccer” has shown anything is that the USMNT has a TV following and knowing what goes on in the other matches of the Gold is of interest. Should FSC change it’s motto to European Soccer on an American Channel!

    Good news from the Gaffer with the online coverage.

  16. Jason Gatties

    July 3, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I’m also a little pissed off that FSC will not broadcast the entire tournament. I love international soccer in any form and yeah, I’d tune in to see Honduras vs Haiti. I’ll still watch the games on Galavision & Univision but I’ll miss out on the Telefutura matches. I could probably find the Telefutura matches online illegally, but I won’t waste my time with that.

    This tournament could be a nice money maker for FSC, yet they fail to see that. I wonder if ESPN had the rights, would they broadcast the entire tournament in English? My guess is yes, even if they moved the non-U.S. games to ESPN Classic or ESPN U. I’m no fan of ESPN’s soccer coverage, but they did get it right by broadcasting the entire Confederations Cup. As Kartik said, FSC has dropped the ball. They’ll make up for it though with their Champions League coverage.

  17. The Gaffer

    July 3, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Good news. OmniSport will be showing every Gold Cup game online. I just signed an agreement with them today. Watch out for banners on Major League Soccer Talk this weekend so you can get your Gold Cup fix.

    The Gaffer

  18. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 3, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Pumas Fan- thanks for the praise, and that “bridge” programming is exactly what FSC needs to specialize in. GOL TV does a great job of it but sadly they don’t have any FMF, MLS or USMNT rights. They have CONCACAF qualifiers not including the US or Mexico however.

  19. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 3, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Steve, don’t confuse interest in mls with interest in the usmnt. The usmnt on ESPN got much higher rating than the EPL or La Liga when they were all on the network in the late 90s. MLS of course gets less viewers. Again the upside brand of the EPL or Serie A is less than the USMNT. The EPL is a niche league bordering on some mainstream recognition. Serie A is completely niche based.

    I find it interesting that FSC shows every CONCACAF Champions League match even games between Central American teams in a more congested calender time for the network but cannot even be bothered to show Mexican games during the Gold Cup.

    IF FSC is going to show EPL reruns during the summer why not show some real PL classics like the network used to: games from the 1990s when the EPL was more attacking oriented and in the opinion of someone like me more open and exciting. They used to show these classic games but now have stopped.

  20. Pumas Fan

    July 3, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Spot on, Kartik. Keep banging the drum for a more truly North American (and Central American) inclusive soccer focus. Most U.S. American soccer fans are oblivious to the excellent league (FMF) that exists just across our southern border and to the national teams from our region and many U.S. citizens are unaware that Mexico is in North America. With more Hispanics in every major city in this country, broadcasters and media that can create “bridge” programming between the English and Spanish cultures & soccer fans will thrive. I agree with you that maybe more Americans would be interested in soccer teams and players from the rest of the CONCACAF region if we got more exposure to those players and teams through English language programming. For example, there are Spanish language TV broadcasts of MLS matches, why can’t there be an English language broadcast of FMF matches or CONCACAF matches? Some network ought to give it a try as an experiment.

  21. steve

    July 3, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Are you really going to use USMNT v freakin Brazil and Spain as evidence that the Nats can draw more of an audience in America then the Prem!

    I love the nats but c’mon. Not to be blunt, but we can’t get enough people to see the Nats LIVE, let alone on TV, let alone to watch their CONCACAF brethren. FSC isn’t that stupid. I’m sorry the number of people wiling to watch Panama vs Guadalope, in English mind you, is less then the number people willing to watch a RERUN of Bolton vs. Chelsea.

    I’m sorry, things may be changing for the better very soon, but not soon enough for English speaking Americans to have ant kind of market for Hondurus and Granada match.

    You got to remember that a little over 20 years ago the only way to see American Soccer at all was on Spanish speaking TV.

  22. Bravo

    July 3, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Great post Kartik. I totally agree.

  23. Longshoe

    July 3, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Totally agreed. While it’s helping to improve my Spanish skills, I’d prefer for coverage of CONCACAF to be more accessible. I’d watch Haiti v. Jamaica or any other Gold Cup match more often that I’d watch a Serie A or EPL replay of a game from November.

  24. BayVol

    July 3, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Agreed KK. Re-runs of EPL or ManU highlights etc….does nothing for me as well. FSC is a great outlet for the sport yet they continue to fall short of what they are capable of wirth respect to American soccer.

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