The U.S. national team’s World Cup qualifier at Guatemala on June 12 — the Americans’ most difficult match in the semifinal round — will be available on pay-per-view only, the U.S. Soccer Federation confirmed Friday. The expected price is $29.95.
Under CONCACAF guidelines, the host federation holds TV rights. As I understand it, the Guatemalan federation sold them to MediaWorld, a global entertainment company, which in turn sold them to Traffic Sports USA, a Miami outfit. Traffic partnered with Integrated Sports Media, a New Jersey company specializing in pay-per-view events.
ISM will carry four other CONCACAF qualifiers in June and several in September and October.
The USSF’s initial fear was the Guatemala match would be available on closed circuit only at restaurants and bars. That scenario played out in the fall of 2009 for the Americans’ Cup-clinching victory at Honduras.
It appears the other U.S. away matches in this round, against Jamaica and Antigua in the fall, might also land on pay-per-view. ESPN holds the rights to all U.S. home games, including the June 8 opener against Antigua in Tampa.
The USSF has put together answers to frequently asked questions about TV rights and, in this case, the pay-per-view issue.