the commercialism of the world cup in the usa

Oh, to be a resident of the UK!

I say this because there’s no way to stream an audio broadcast of the World Cup here in the U.S.A.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. ESPN.com offers a live video stream, so long as you are a subscriber to a broadband service that’s paid their dues to ESPN/Disney. Granted, this is a sly way to keep workplace productivity up, as most workplaces use higher-level internet service providers that are beyond the financial reach of home users.

But it’s still annoying. BBC users who reside in the UK can stream BBC 5 Live to get their footie fix. Same for ARD in Germany, FR1 and FR2 in France, the CBC in Canada, and NipponTV in Japan. And these streams are absolutely free for residents of those countries (okay, they aren’t truly free, as residents of said nations subsidize their national networks via taxes). But here in the United States, the almighty dollar reigns supreme, and ESPN wants its money.

Granted, the Spanish language coverage of the World Cup is being shown by non-cable networks, like Univision, Telemundo and Telefutura. But they are hit-or-miss, and the dispersal of the coverage is tough to track. This schedule is the best way to keep things straight.

So I’ll watch the “live text” feed on Eurosport and watch the other games where I can. At home, I could watch on the internet via Verizon DSL, our home ISP.

Oh, wait a minute – I can’t! Seems that ESPN has decided to make their ESPN 360 service a Microsoft-only experience, requiring Internet Exploiter 6 and Windows Media Player 10. Heh – figures they’d marginalize their stream to the pandering of Bill Gates’ crummy, non-standard software.

However, most of the games are on during work hours, thanks to the 6-hour time differential between the east coast of the U.S. and Germany. Over the weekend, I might sneak off to a local bar or restaurant to see the games live, but it’d be nice to be able to watch at home.

Or listen at work.

(Granted, I should be working. But I usually have music or baseball audio on in the background, and live football coverage isn’t that different.)

Oh well….