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Friday, May 18, 2012
U.S. vs. Guatemala to be PPV

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The United States' World Cup qualifier at Guatemala on June 12 will be shown on pay-per-view over the objection of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Traffic Sports USA purchased the rights from the Federacion Nacional de Futbol de Guatemala and announced an agreement Friday with Integrated Sports Media to distribute the match in the U.S.

It will have a suggested retail price of $29.95 and will be available on DIRECTV, DISH Network and Avail-TVN and iN Demand -- which is available on systems of Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Comcast, Charter, Frontier and COX.

FIFA gives home teams rights to World Cup qualifiers. The Americans' home qualifiers against Antigua and Barbuda on June 8 and Jamaica on Sept. 11 will be televised by ESPN2.

"The pay-per-view route is definitely not our preference," USSF spokesman Neil Buethe said.

In qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, eight matches on ESPN2 averaged 787,000 viewers and two matches on ESPN averaged 734,000.

Doug Jacobs, president of Integrated, estimated the number of buys for this game would be "many thousands" -- a tiny fraction of the 1.5 million homes that bought the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight on May 5.

When the Americans clinched their sixth straight World Cup berth with a 3-2 win at Honduras in October 2009, the game was available in the U.S. only on closed circuit. Jacobs said ensuring wide distribution was not his company's responsibility.

"What's good for the sport, that's U.S Soccer's agenda," he said. "We're a private business. I'm a soccer fan, and the alternative was a lot worse. It could have been as it was in 2009, closed circuit. It's the lesser of two evils."

Traffic also owns the rights to the U.S. qualifiers at Jamaica on Sept. 7 and at Antigua on Oct. 12.

Last year, the 53 members of the Union of European Football Associations decided to pool their television rights for national team games starting after the 2014 World Cup.

"If we wanted to pool all the rights of the countries we could. This is done elsewhere," CONCACAF Acting Secretary General Ted Howard said. "Each country owns its own rights to their home broadcasts."