Thursday, September 04, 2008

Waiting for Honduras 4: How to watch

It's more than a bit sad that fans of the men's national team who want to catch one of the most important matches in years on TV might require detailed instructions, but that's the case for this Saturday's qualifier against Honduras.

Sportsnet is the rights holder (not for long, we hope) of all Canadian Soccer Association television properties, so you'll need to have that channel in your cable package to watch the match. However, merely having Sportsnet won't be enough to see it live, if you live west of Ontario.

Here's the way it works:
Sportsnet Atlantic: live at 9 pm AT
Sportsnet East: live at 8 pm ET
Sportsnet West: 3-hour tape delay, at 10 pm CT / 9 pm MT (Texas Rangers baseball is being shown live)
Sportsnet Pacific: 6-hour (!!) tape delay, at 11 pm PT (Mariners baseball, poker, and stale sports highlights are being broadcast first)
So you'll need a cable package with all 4 regional feeds if, like me, you live in Western Canada. One possible saving grace is that the game is being streamed online at the Sportsnet website. This stream should be available to anyone with a Canadian IP address and, if you're lucky, to out-of-country folk as well.

The proper response to my Photoshopping (actually GIMPing) skills is a mixture of awe and fear.

You might think this is bad . . . but it gets worse!! The Footie Fool, who has been killing it lately with some excellent posts, is as surprised and outraged as we are that next Wednesday's rendezvous in Mexico isn't being broadcast at all. There is no excuse. Seeing as I signed up for the Sportsnet package with my cable provider for the sole purpose of watching Canada's matches, I'm more than a little steamed.

You can rest assured that any internet streams available will be listed here, and a colourful live blog will be maintained, but these are hardly substitutes for a national network. I'd kill to have CBC take as much interest in being a carrier for the national team as they have for the Toronto FC broadcasts, but I can't imagine them pre-empting a midweek edition of the The National to show soccer.

A more cheerful aside: Commenter Colin has got his own outpost in the soccer blogging world -- Keepie Uppie. More soccer in general than Canadian soccer, and more Shaun Wright-Phillips right now than anything else, but still a good read.

Friday update: OK, ok, Rogers Sportsnet may not be the antichrist. From Gerry Dobson's blog:
And finally, many of you have been wondering about the broadcast plans for the Mexico match next week. Here's your answer: It will be live at 9 p.m. ET on all Sportsnet channels. We have been criticized lately for providing sketchy information on this but trust me, dealing with broadcasters in Latin America is entirely unlike anything that happens in Canada or the United States. Assuming we can get satellite delivery from these places, which is not always a sure thing, we will be airing all Canada's matches as long as the matches continue to matter.
So, if everything goes as planned, we'll be able to see the Mexico qualifier. Like a bitter Republican, he blames Mexicans for his network's own problems. But the graphic stays: Sportsnet could do much better. And the bolded sentence with that final clause ('as long as the matches continue to matter') seems like a sneaky way of setting up an excuse to avoid broadcasting October qualifiers during the baseball playoffs, if Canada falls out of things in qualfiying.


Headhunting Canuck said...

Well as long as my travel plans go well I'll join you for the live blog tomorrow night, maybe I can induce some angry fans again, or just help add some entertainment to the whole matter... i've got a ton to catch up on, school has caught me off guard with my pants down.


Colin Smith said...

It's great to see supporters pressuring broadcasters to get these games on the telly.

It could be worse, we could be in England...,17033,8652_4093801,00.html

Thanks for the link,

J said...


I'm glad to be here you'll be around for the proceedings tomorrow. I'm only 90% sure of my own participation, but I know we're in good hands if I can't carry the load.

And if you can rile folks up, all power to you.