Bear with me here; I'm fleshing out some thoughts as I type rather than doing so first and presenting you with a finished product. Time is short today, and the TV situation for the Honduras World Cup qualifier is on my mind. There's really nothing good to say about the fact that the game will only be available via closed-circuit television in bars around the country; nevertheless, I'm looking for a silver lining.
And this is the best I could come up: If enough people plunk down the cover charge most places are charging for the match, and the bar owners reap some kind of significant monetary benefit from showing the game, it could be seen as another sign that soccer's support in the (English-speaking) US is on the rise.
How'd I do? It that "silver" in the classic sense, or more of a slightly tarnished aluminum?
Let's hold out hope that many, many people do show up at their local soccer outlets. Not only is it a chance to support those places that give us a chance to watch the beautiful game in the company of like-minded individuals regularly, these bars and pubs are invariably small businesses that need the patronage.
My logic may be flawed in my tattered aluminum lining, but it would seem to follow that tracking a thing like number of patrons, which involves a much more accurate physical count, is easier than sampling a small portion of the greater American television audience to determine what a particular game's TV rating might be. In that regard, USMNT fans could shock the sports-marketing and television establishment by showing up in massive numbers, overflowing bar after bar, and proving to those stodgy bean-counters at ESPN that perhaps their continued passing on out-of-country National Team games is a miscalculation.
Or not. I realize I'm grasping at some serious straws here; it's much more likely that the game with come and go with either no reports of who showed up where, or the audience will be downplayed or downright disappointing.
I'm a optimist. I want to believe, and think it possible, that every bar that has the game will be packed to the gills. In fact, I'm suddenly concerned that I may not be able to get into the bar I'm headed to and plan to adjust my departure time accordingly.
Of course, it still just plain stinks that we'll have to watch it this way. Twenty dollars and an hour one-way (my personal situation), or staying at home and scrambling for an internet feed that may not exist?
Might I suggest that if you do have a local establishment that is showing the game, that you head out and watch it there. Whether the response is overwhelming or not, we might as well support those that were willing to bite the bullet and bring us the game.