Friday, February 22, 2008

Great soccer on TV.... Where? When?

Here are the sources, none perfect, for live soccer via video in the US.
HD - The HD experience for soccer is markedly better, since the wider screen reveals much more of the off-ball decision making and movement around the ball.
HDNET - Where available (not on Comcast, and thus our imminent divorce) carries some MLS games
ESPN2 - continues their Thursday night MLS game of the week. They are carrying some EUFA Champions league (Top tier of all European clubs=very good soccer every minute) but... in REGULAR DEFINITION. My guess is there is a video feed that they get from Europe and they don't take the effort to convert it for their regular 720p format. This is chicken and egg - They claim there isn't enough money to send their own equipment and on sight announcers because the viewership is too small - the viewership is smaller than it would be because they broadcast the thing in narrowscreen analog!
ABC - will have a very small number of "important" MLS games for '08

Regular Definition - Much inferior as a soccer experience, though something is better than nothing (I guess).
Fox Soccer Channel - EPL, Italy, South America - EPL games and Italy are never the top games of the week. I like to think that that is not FSC's fault but that of the rights holders in Britain and Italy. I hope this gets cleared up for 2008-09 so that I don't have to watch Fulham and Derby (well, they will be relegated, so I refer to the new bottom-dwellers of next year). Realize - The EPL is so good that Fulham (in 19th out of 20 teams for 2007-08) would take any team in the MLS 3-0 without working hard. Still, most weeks the best players in the world are unavailable in the easiest access point of FSC.

Telefutura - Mexico and points south
Univision - Mexico and points south, some European lesser teams. (Who were those Pink-uniformed Italians I saw a little while back? THAT is bravery.) Univision seems like the next logical network to move everything to HD.

Setanta carries some (NOBODY is doing soccer correctly in the US video market) games online (PC only, sorry MAC) for $150 for 12 months.

Big city bars have actually the best prospect of carrying quality games every week - find a bar that actually uses one of their screens for soccer and enjoy. This is a Setanta feed available to commercial establishments. (I don't live any where near a big city.)

For Soccer on tv scheduling information go to Soccer coverage is so disjointed that an entire website exists just to keep track of the weird times, channels, and available games.
For the online video of 2008 MLS games as an (so far) inexpensive route to those games:

Soccer that is almost devoid of video coverage: College (play is really pretty good), women, and Asia - ANY Asian soccer is not on radar I have, period. I hope that colleges begin to use online direct feeds like Ustream next season. It is a compressed feed, but there is a market.

If I missed a big one, let me know.

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