Report: Guatemala-USA World Cup qualifier only available on pay-per view

USA (Reuters Pictures)

U.S. men's national team fans will be able to watch next month's World Cup qualifier against Guatemala, but they'll have to fork over a decent chunk of change to do so.

According to the New York Times, the match will be only accessible on television in the United States on pay-per view only for $29.95 after Guatemala, the host country that contains the television rights for the June 12 match at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City, was unable to come to a deal with any U.S. television outlets and instead sold the broadcast rights elsewhere instead. Those rights are being distributed domestically by Integrated Sports Media and Traffic Sports USA, with PPV being the route taken, according to the NYT report.

Future television rights for road matches during the qualifying campaign against Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda have not yet been allocated, and there is no guarantee that those games will be easily accessible on network television either. U.S. Soccer offers more insight to the qualifying rights situtation on its official website.

The national team's other upcoming matches are all available on cable networks in the United States, with next Saturday's match against Scotland and the June 3 match against Canada being broadcast in English by NBC Sports Network, the May 30 friendly against Brazil being broadcast by ESPN2 and the June 8 World Cup qualifier against Antigua and Barbuda being aired on ESPN. 

What do you think of this development?

Share your thoughts below.

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101 Responses to Report: Guatemala-USA World Cup qualifier only available on pay-per view

  1. wides says:


  2. Sean says:

    That is awful. Truly, truly maddening.

  3. timmytwoshoezzz says:

    Traffic Sports has branched out from ‘effing over players to ‘effing over fans now. Awesome

  4. 2tone says:

    This is effing stupid. Jamaica should be accessible. I wonder if CONCACAF TV will show the game. I have my fingers crossed!

  5. Dave from Charlotte says:

    not sure if it was Guatemala or Costa Rica, but this happened during the last world cup cycle and it was an important match. I went to a bar in Charlotte that was broadcasting the game, and we ended up missing the 1st half because the feed sucked and the transmission wouldn’t connect.

    this is a joke and I think Ives should do something about it 😀

  6. Andrew in Tulsa says:

    $30 for a guaranteed SD broadcast? Seriously?

  7. DEAC says:

    It was Honduras, the game in which the U.S. clinched qualification. So not a big one, or anything. I was in Detroit and could not find a bar within 15 miles. Wound up finding a link on the internet that allowed me to watch online.
    Just hope this company does a decent job getting clearances so the game is viewable.

  8. vik says:

    it was the Honduras match. A pretty epic 3-2 win that sealed qualification. Feed was terrible and the spanish and english commentary were audible simultaneously with no way to separate them out.

  9. jon says:

    what a joke. you would think that fox soccer channel would be willing to step up to the plate…

  10. PDX Tom says:

    Anyone who goes to a bar that paid for this game is guilty of collaboration with these tools.

    Boycott is the only answer. And maybe piracy.

  11. Travis says:

    wow, what a joke

  12. James says:

    Integrated Sports Media and Traffic Sports USA are obviously trying to grab ESPN by the balls with some exorbitant price. I’ll just find an online stream for this one. I push for everyone to do the same.

  13. Mat says:

    And then they wonder why soccer can’t take off better in this country…

  14. Joel says:

    And they wonder why soccer can’t catch on here. Media exposure and regular games NEED to be showed here no matter what league, but especially if it’s a WC Qualifier!

  15. El Principio says:

    Hahahahahahaahahahahaha. Who are the clowns working at Integrated Sports Media and Traffic Sports USA?

  16. Andrew in Tulsa says:

    The US Soccer Federation or anyone in the USA had no say in where this was going to be aired. The host nation sells the rights to whomever they want.

  17. Arrgh says:

    Piracy ftw.

  18. AC says:


  19. THomas says:

    Ya it’s not too hard to find it online, unless you’re not trying. Plus I’m sure every soccer bar around will have the game on for its patrons.

    It’s a Tuesday night so a good way to bring people in on an otherwise slow night I would assume. That likely doesn’t help anybody not living in a major city though.

  20. Todd Brandes says:

    Amateur hour

  21. Dave from Charlotte says:

    +1 …you’re right that was it. pretty sure it is the same company too.

    Ugh, i wish this ppv BS would stop.

  22. Raymon says:

    If this continues, soccer will be go the way of pay-per-view boxing. There was a time when everyone knew and watched Ali, Frazier, and Foreman. Now probably 10% of the people can name any current boxing champion.

  23. b says:

    What a cluster****

  24. b says:

    +1 people need to realize this.

    Still, F the Guatemalan federation, then.

  25. treasure22 says:

    Agreed! Regular airing of soccer matches – National Team, MLS, high profile international matches – need to be available to solidify the fan base here in the U.S. I would say this should be top priority for US Soccer and MLS to grow their product. Short term pain will result in long term strength. Yes, I know other contries control their broadcasts at home but where there is a will there is a way.

  26. RLW2020 says:

    i remember watching that Honduras game on some website stream. The announcer was the most un- enthusiastic play by play ever! Even with Conor Casey’s goal to win the game and send the US into the world cup. it was hilarious.

  27. marco says:

    Better to hide bites, punches, and refs.

  28. jon says:

    yes, the only answer is boycott and/or piracy. please, no one reward traffic sports for making this anti-soccer fan, anti-US move, by buying ppv. if you buy the ppv, you are only creating a market for this to happen again in the future.

  29. FELIXS9 says:


  30. Mat says:

    Not to mention parts of the games on ESPN get gobbled up by the ladies softball game right before it…

  31. Mat says:

    After destroying young USA talents, Traffic Sports is shamelessly destroying soccer for USA fans.

  32. RLW2020 says:

    this must be there way of keeping US Soccer down. it certainly has an effect, and the last Guatemala or Honduras or any other CONCACAF minnow needs is a even more dominate US National Team.

  33. marco says:

    Too bad they don’t traffic in smarts.

  34. Clayton says:

    It seems like Traffic is trying really really hard to cement their reputation as evil.

  35. couchtoast says:

    Watching the Hounduras game at bar in Denver was one of my greatest soccer watching experiences ever. This was the game where Conor Casey scored two goals to help the US come back from an early deficit and clinch a spot in the 2010 World Cup. Casey’s parents were actually at the bar, and the shoulder to shoulder crowd gave them a standing ovation after the game. People need to embrace the fact that, every now and then, this is actually a pretty awesome way to watch a game. It creates a whole new type of comradery with die-hard US Soccer fans. And with rising popularity of soccer, there will probably be few places where you cant watch the game this time around.

  36. TheFrenchOne says:

    no biggie. i’ll just watch a baseball game instead cuz unlike soccer, there are only 162 games during the regular season, so each game is extremely important …

  37. EA says:

    “The US Soccer Federation or anyone in the USA had no say in where this was going to be aired. The host nation sells the rights to whomever they want.”

    And I’m sure USSF has some influence with Soccer United Marketing to determine who can play a friendly in the US and who can’t.

    Guatemala wants to play a Jan/Feb friendly with the US? No thanks.

    Guatemala wants to play Mexico in Phoenix so they can rake in some bucks? No thanks.

    USSF will have to grow a spine, or we’ll be paying to see every match.

  38. MMV says:

    The Guatemala Fed holds are the cards in the situation. No matter the amount of money they can earn from US broadcasters, it’s up to them to chose who they want. As far as bidding from the US, it’s a business. ESPN or whoever just doesn’t broadcast a match for the sake of it. It has to benefit them financially. Gautemala may be asking some ridiculous sum that doesn’t justify the amount of money spent on the rights. It sucks. Big time.

  39. carlos bronson says:

    They always do that for games involving Guatemala. The only games I remember they didn’t do that was back when the US played in Guatemala and when they played in Colorado, I think. I’ve been following Guatemala since I was in elementary school, since my parents are from there. I’d always have to go with my father to casinos, like the Hollywood Park Casino, to watch those games. It used to be that it was only on cctv, now they’ve added ppv. It’s not just Guatemala, it’s for every central american team that Traffic sports does that. They know expatriates are willing to pay to watch their teams play. Thankfully there’s other ways to get the games now. Maybe I’ll catch some of you at J’s place.

  40. FSegaud says:

    USSF needs to send a big F YOU to Guatemala by not allowing them to get the return match televised in their country.

  41. g-dub says:

    Right. This is down to Guatemala and it’s probably about money. If they can make more selling the rights for PPV than to a network then that’s what they’ll do. I just wonder how those economics work. Does the revenue from individual PPV sales really outstrip the revenue a network would generate from advertising – which would drive how much a network is willing to shell out. If so, maybe there’s not much that can change the situation. But I have to wonder if some bad business decisions or possibility of insider corruption could be in play.

    An unintended beneficiary of this of course are US bars. I for one will be watching this over a few beers at the bar instead of my living room.

  42. jon says:

    i like that approach! host countries should work with each other and be reasonable. but if not, if they get greedy, they should be punished

  43. Spectra says:

    Let’s all calloud together against this. Someone that is well versed in streams needs to buy and stream.

  44. NE Matt says:

    this is pitiful

  45. PD says:

    the translation of BOOOOOOOO is “extortionist f*cks”

  46. The Imperative Voice says:

    Sometimes I wish they got down to nitty gritty amounts, because (a) the precise number would tell me if I should be peeved at the networks instead, (b) the number was clearly not too much for Traffic, which presumably has the most modest resources in a fight with Disney, NBC, and Fox, and (c) morally I feel like the WC host network which will be banking on the WC broadcasts owes me this in return. Treat it like advertising. The idea they can treat individual games like an isolated revenue/cost item is worrisome when one is the WC host network and pitching themselves as serious soccer people. If you’re serious pony up the money to show the important games…..Honduras in particular made me cranky. How much do EPL, La Liga, etc. rights cost? Fox can run all sorts of EPL games this last weekend including on of all places Speed but can’t find one place to air this thing? If run on the right network I can’t believe they wouldn’t cover things or at least get close with advertising.

    I see this as regression because there was a period through roughly the 2006 WC cycle when every game seemed to be televised. Back in the day this was not the case, there were PPV games in the 90s, and history has swung back that direction.

    Oh, I am no Traffic fan at all, worst mistake Gale A. and the others ever made, but the idea that those penny-pinchers could outbid conglomerates should smell funny. Surely Traffic knows all they can hope for is PPV eyes and PPV ads, that shouldn’t even call for the same bid as a network or cable broadcast that can presume upon more eyeballs and ad dollars.

  47. some American General says:

    Didn’t we attack Grenada over something like this?

  48. WeatherManNX01 says:

    It happened once. Fine, whatever. It’s happened twice, and now I’m starting to feel screwed over. I’m thinking it’s about time someone looked into changing this rule. Absolutely ridiculous that the away viewing rights are held hostage like this.

    Spur-of-the-moment proposal: home federation owns the rights, but the away federation can sell the rights in their own country only, paying a set percentage as a “licensing fee” (percentage would be set at the confederation level and would vary depending on the tournament/level of event). Home federation can sell the rights to anyone they want in any other country.

    Give us the chance to see our matches!

  49. Norm says:

    I remember on the last ppv game v honduras, rsl had a charity event and showed the game at it. It was way fun. Hope something like this can be done again.

  50. Cap'n Blackbeard says:

    Yo ho ho!

  51. REX says:

    You would think the way CONCACAF and FIFA works, all it would take is a little dirty money for CONCACAF to force nations to sell the rights to big tv stations.

  52. superpirate says:

    I’ll just leave this here.

  53. Old School says:

    It’s one match.

    We’ll live.

  54. MidWest Ref says:

    It is a terrible precedent, and the first of many I fear

  55. Louis Z says:

    I wonder if directv would have it in their spanish package which includes a Guatemala channel.

  56. The Imperative Voice says:

    At what point do I get to say, if you can show every EPL game on the ultimate weekend, the Euros that are tangentially relevant here, plus the World Cup which probably makes broadcast money hand over fist, well, you owe me this one?

    This is kind of like the mentality where movies are increasingly becoming safe, money-driven sequels and franchises, because even though the initial concept of the conglomerate ownership of movie studios was that a bad year in movies could be offset by a good year in widgets or books within the conglomerate, now green lampshades with your mentality think the movie house has to make money every year which allows them to treat each creative or artsy film as inherently risky. Even if a Titanic- or Avatar-type movie with no sequel history or rebootable Comic Book heritage work out to be the biggest things ever.

    Also, you’re not looking at the big picture of hooking audience interest now to use for the WC.

    This is the de-contextualized, narrow-version profit motive run amok. Every US game shouldn’t have to post a profit, particularly if they are showing dozens of soccer broadcasts a year, the whole of which will surely show a profit.

  57. Robinson says:

    Why is evryone blaming Guatemala for going to the highest bidder. To me that says ESPN, FOX, etc were too cheap with their bids.

  58. Jya says:

    I wouldn’t put this on Guatemala this is American broadcasters fault. Guatemala is just selling the rights to the highest bidder which should be ESPN or Fox sports its not Guatemala’s job to do their networks a favor and sell it to them for a lower price. Mexico has never had trouble buying their rights from any country at this point the same should be true for the USA.

  59. Jya says:

    Every country sells the TV rights to the highest bidder its how it works all over the world. The problem is that in the USA their are greddy companies like traffic sports that make you pay to watch the games that doesn’t happen in Guatemala their the networks are the highest bidders not some company make the games pay per view

  60. jon says:

    i wonder if this also happens for away qualifiers for teams like England, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Agentina. Do fans in those countries need to buy ppv to see away qualifiers? If they did, you’d think you’d have riots and unrest on your hands.

  61. bryan says:

    this isn’t even the first time…

  62. ACC says:

    Some of you people need some serious Reading Comprehension courses.
    As it was clearly explained in the article, American TV stations had as much of a chance as anybody else to buy the rights to the game.
    They didn’t so it will now be shown on PPV.
    if you want to blame somebody blame the American TV stations.
    Read twice, type once

  63. dhines says:

    I agree with some of what I am reading in here . . . USSF (by way of SUM) should tell the other CONCACAF countries “if you want to play friendlies on US soil, you better sell away game TV rights at a fair price.”

    I think this would quickly resolve such short sighted money grab moves.

  64. bryan says:

    i will not be watching this at any bar or at home on TV. i will pirate it or watch the match tracker. this is ridiculous and it all started with Honduras last round. clearly Guatemala was asking way too much money if NOT A SINGLE NETWORK bought the rights. that usually says something.

    i can only hope that, as much as it will suck, people do not pay for this. this is insane.

  65. Travis says:


  66. MC Pharaoh says:

    Really? When was the last time a WCQ match was not displayed on cable or FSC? Not any time recently. This is criminal to do in a WCQ match

  67. Pedro Páramo says:

    This is sinful. Definitely watching the match on an illegal feed.

  68. uksubs says:

    I guess since the Spanish rights weren’t sold either, the Guatemalan Federation/ Traffic hates the people that immigrated from there too.

  69. S says:

    The clincher in Honduras. Your memory is not too good.

    Sad that ppv generates more revenue than cable.

  70. bryan says:


  71. farcyde21 says:

    I’m not too obsessed about the matter of payment for watching the game (note: I don’t intend to pay them a dime).

    What I am most concerned with is the continual spread of the “Beautiful Game” in this country. If games are continually pushed off to lesser networks, secondary (sports package only) channels and ppv… the sport will be D.O.A. in a few short years.

  72. primoone says:

    Ony available on PPV? I beg to differ!

  73. Jacknut says:

    One thing Traffic is sure to have that ESPN, FOX, NBC, etc. don’t have is a relative at the Guatemalan FA.

  74. Rory says:

    Sadly $30 is still cheaper than me upgrading my DishNetwork package to get NBCSports, so it’s not as bad as you make it out.

  75. TomG says:

    b/c the fact that all the other qualifiers and friendlies wind up getting broadcast except the occasional small central american country raises some red flags. It seems likely that this is not a business decision but rather some sort of insider deal that puts money into the pockets of some shady individuals. I have no specific info, but common sense says that you would make more money off of the networks than ppv or else all these matches would be on ppv. Very few people will actually buy this, but knowing the corruption inherent in many of these small soccer playing nations, I’d guess that this is not purely a business decision.

  76. Kevin_Amold says:

    Yeah, memories aren’t too long sometimes.

  77. Kevin_Amold says:

    I actually disagree here. They (ESPN) don’t owe us anything. They show a lot of games that we watch and they, presumably, make enough money to make it worth their while to broadcast them. Mutually beneficial.

    Would it be a nice gesture to shell out for this preliminary world cup game? Absolutely, and would fans remember it? I know I sure would. But ESPN owes us, USMNT fans, nothing, at least not in my view.

  78. Brain Guy says:

    Why should we expect the handling of TV rights for an away qualifier be any better than say, the pitch or the officiating?

  79. Scott says:

    The game will be streamed for free at, as almost all games are.

  80. chris says:

    Traffic is a Brazilian company

  81. Peter says:

    Yes thats true in some parts of the country but the majority of us not in a huge will miss out!!! Plus go to most bars here in most parts of Texas and try getting a bar to poney up the cash for this and they will look at you as if you were insane!!

  82. says:

    There were VERY few bars that had access to the Honduras game.

    You most likely will end up stooped over a pirated internet feed on

  83. ... says:

    The Honduras game was not available on home PPV, while this game will be, so it will probably be more accessible for bars. I remember with the Honduras game, it was only sold to bars and there was some further restriction, I think, on which bars could purchase it.

    Not many English-speaking ones picked it up, maybe 20 in the entire country, but several hundred Spanish-speaking bars had it. Still, the closest bar showing it near me was a good hour away… hopefully I can find the Guatemala game a bit closer to home.

  84. yee says:

    Will it be on any spanish channels?

  85. SnoopDogg says:

    too bad they dont traffic Galaxy to Copa sudamericana

  86. Eurosnob says:

    This is not very common, but it does happan occasionally. When England played against Ukraine on the road in the WCQ game, the British broadcasters were unable to purchase the TV rights. Lot’s off England’s fans were ticked off because they had to watch on the internet stream and England lost.

  87. dgoshilla says:

    Two Words: Chan Feed. Anyone who pays for PPV is a sucker. The internet makes missing this game an impossibility.

  88. Brett says:

    They aren’t getting my money. Online stream it is.

  89. Scott A says:

    LOL CONCACAF countries

  90. MakingNews says:

    There was a Hispanic nightclub in Ypsilanti that aired the CCTV of the match. There was about 20 Americans there, and 250 Hondurans. It was actually an absolute blast. Like going to an away match. It was like a $20 cover, but worth it.

  91. Gon Darber says:

    Welcome to the Third World

  92. rick rock says:

    happened during the last qualification round actually. quite recentaly actually

  93. UMN says:

    There will likely be a feed. Firstrowsports eu has had almost every game I have wanted to watch.

  94. The Imperative Voice says:

    One thing, you’re according this too much rationality. Let’s say I watched City on ESPN last weekend but don’t usually watch their EPL or MLS games unless my particular team is involved. Or let’s say that I often watch Spanish language US telecasts to avoid particular announcing teams.

    How does their lack of commitment here pry my soccer watching eyes away for additional games and ratings? Where maybe if they show the US and I associate them with soccer more I watch a MLS telecast next time that’s unrelated directly to my Dynamo, etc. MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL.

    Or maybe the US qualifier, if appropriately advertised, helps build buzz and audience for the overall WC. It becomes less “Olympics” and more of a rolling event they can milk every year. Ratings go up. MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL.

    And then I’m at a loss how, say, a no-count friendly on a wet field in Outer Slovobia that is barely viewable, is more worth the money than a chips on table qualifier with a decent central american team. Which suggests it’s not so much the revenue aspect — Outer Slovobia probably wasn’t a grabber — it’s the fact of the fee itself. The issue is they have to pay a little money.

    To which I say, they blow tens or hundreds of millions on the Euros, WC, and EPL, you can spare a dime here. As I suggested, it could actually work out for their big picture financial betterment, if you don’t view it narrowly as a single fee, a single game that has to make tons of money, etc.

    If the NFL owes Monday Night Football fans better games than the schedule might otherwise deliver, then ESPN can bite the bullet and buy one more lousy drop in the bucket game on top of their probably massive profits on sports and soccer.

  95. RLW2020 says:

    where in Denver was that if you don’t mind me asking? I was looking at those on colfax in aurora but didn’t know which one to go to. or were you at the bulldog? there was a line around the block by the time i got there (30 min before kick off)..

  96. Kevin_Amold says:

    You make my point for me. Could they afford to do it if they wanted? Absolutely, and I’d go out of my way to support them. Do they owe it to us. Not at all.

    Your argument that “They blow millions on the Euros, WC, etc” so therefore they can “spare a dime here” doesn’t compute with me. More likely is, “We blow millions on WCQ, Euros, WC, etc that we CAN”T AFFORD to sink more into a game that 1)is early in qualifying and 2)is a much higher price than we would normally pay.” We may both disagree with the decision and wish they would play it, but no sense holding it against them if they don’t.

  97. Kevin_Amold says:

    I know it sounds like I contradict myself here, but what I mean is that ESPN has enough money that they COULD buy it if they really really wanted to.

    It seems more likely that ESPN might argue that they spend so much getting these huge events, they can’t afford to step up on every occasion that the USMNT plays in central america where the host nation holds the rights.

  98. Rags from DC says:

    Yeah, this totally blows that it’s ppv only….

    I will say that I saw the quali against Honduras on PPV at Fado in Gallery Place DC during qualifying a few years ago.

    The bar was sold out – with a completely pro US crowd, singing, cheering. When Casey scored the winner – the place went ballistic. Awesome experience. I took my father in law with me to watch it with some buddies that night. Even he loved it (lives in India and in Mexico 1/2 year each). He was outright shocked at the intensity of US fans. I’m assuming I’m going to have a great time watching this one at a similar bar.

    All that being said – It still sucks that it’s not HD and on easily accessible TV.

  99. RAMONE says:

    Wow, what a bummer. Pirated feed it is. I dislike Traffic and I’d rather miss the game entirely than line their pockets.

    For those who commented above that it was “sold to the highest bidder”, um no – that is what you are to believe happened (that somehow this extremely shady organization that is Traffic outbid ESPN, NBC, FOXsoccer, etc.), but nowhere in the article does it say that those outlets bid x, y and z only to be outdone by the bid of ___. This is shady people dealing with shady people and are naive enough to think US soccer fans are going to fork over money. If they actually did outbid in a fair bidding process, I think Traffic will lose their shirts (and that would be GREAT!). More likely they promised a percentage and gave the Honduran federation some trumped up numbers that they won’t come anywhere close to while the traditional outlets just bid a set amount.

    I personally would like to see SUM get involved here. They should consider buying rights to these away games and reselling them to the broadest audience possible. Sure, you can’t avoid inside deals and payola that happens in tinpot Banana Republics as a matter of standard business, but a concerted effort by USSoccer or SUM could be a winner for all parties involved.

  100. BamaMan says:

    This is one part SUM’s fault, one part CONCACAF. Assuming that Traffic Sports was in fact the highest bidder, Guatemala is simply doing what is best for them. Letting different confederations control every single hosted game’s tv rights on a one-off basis is not a good way to distribute revenue evenly. I’d propose that each nation control all domestic rights to their home and away qualifiers, CONCACAF control non-domestic rights, then the money split evenly between the squads participating.

    For example, there are six games this round. Say ESPN paid $3M to show all six in the US; USSF keeps $1.5M; $1.5M gets split among Jamaica, Guatemala, and Antigua/Barbuda. Conversely, say the combined rights for Guatemala’s games in guatemala ran to $1M; US splits $.5M of that along with the other two squads. Guatemala keeps half.

    Allow the world cup games to be sold as a part of a package instead of individually would make much more sense. The current system is just going to result in more and more PPV games if sold on an individual basis. CONCACAF or FIFA is going to have to do something about this. I think they might because there is much more money to be made in the long run selling games as a package.

  101. Leo says:

    The larger point was illustrated by Dan Rather on Bill Maher last night: network and communication consolidation has led to the over-corporatization of entertainment, leading to the trivialization of content. Back in his day, the news was a “loss-leader”, meaning that even though the particular show didn’t make CBS money, the owner of the corporation saw it as an important public service that he provided. That guy knew that The Beverly Hillbillies would make up that revenue. Now, if Viacom sees the news as not driving profits; hey, time to fire a few producers and get someone in there that can get some revenue flowing.

    Kevin, unfortunately, not EVERYTHING has to be about free-market capitalism and generating revenue. Sometimes, even though they don’t owe us anything, business leaders can (and should) step up to do the right thing in the interest of journalism, or sport, or entertainment, or whatever. These days, they just choose not to, and their businesses will suffer in the long run for their myopic vision.