Oct 11, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
KANSAS CITY – Tonight’s World Cup qualifier at Sporting Park on the Kansas City outskirts starts at 5:30 p.m. locally – or as I have mockingly referred to it over the last couple of days here, “traditional starting time” for a big soccer match.
Obviously, it isn’t. A “traditional starting time,” that is.
Obviously, it’s all about TV. When it comes to scheduling in big time sports, it’s pretty much always about TV.
When I first saw the start time last week – and let’s just call that time what it is, which is “goofy” – I assumed it was about simultaneous start times for the trio of CONCACAF World Cup qualifers. But that’s only for the final match day.
Without being too specific, U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe told me his organization and ESPN talked about several different options for tonight’s match. In the end, he said, U.S. Soccer’s target is always to arrange the best possible circumstance to allow the most possible viewers.
Perhaps U.S. Soccer cannot say it, but here’s what that probably means:
U.S. Soccer could have had a better start time (say, something really wild and crazy, like 7:30 p.m.) but would have been pushed to an outlet from ESPN’s jayvee roster, ESPN News or ESPNU or whatever.
Tonight’s Mexico-Panama match, a truly meaningful contest for a lot of people in our land, will land on ESPN News, for instance. That one starts at 9:15 p.m. ET.
So why couldn’t U.S. Soccer’s World Cup qualifier get a better start time and land on ESPN? The worldwide leader in sports has a college football package on Friday nights these days.
Soccer may have come a long way in our country – but we all know that football still rules.
- MLS Cup preview: Real Salt Lake meets Sporting Kansas City to decide Major League Soccer’s 18th championship 1
- USA’s World Cup opponents: What to expect from Germany, Portugal and Ghana 8
- World Cup 2014: Group analysis from Soccerly.com 0
- 2014 World Cup Draw: USA in Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, Ghana – Schedule, times, venues 19
- 2014 World Cup Draw: Recapping the event (38)
- What US Soccer wants from the World Cup draw (23)
- Video of Jermaine Jones’ terrific goal Saturday for Schalke (22)
- 2014 World Cup Draw: USA in Group of Death with Germany, Portugal, Ghana – Schedule, times, venues (19)
- 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw: The sum of all fears scenario for the United States (17)