RSL game better late than never

Published: Friday, Feb. 25 2005 12:04 p.m. MST

Utah TV viewers will get their first look at Real Salt Lake on Sunday . . . although those who speak Spanish will get more out of the broadcast than non-Spanish speakers.

RSL's preseason game against the Columbus Crew will be telecast Sunday at 2 p.m. on KEJT-Ch. 50/KULX-Ch. 51, the Telemundo affiliates in Utah. It's not live — the game was played Feb. 13 in Tampa.

(And, in case you were wondering, RSL won 2-0.)

Essentially, this is a very clever marketing ploy to appeal to a group of TV viewers who, in all probability, include a fair number of soccer fans.

Even if you don't speak Spanish, you can still watch the game. Heck, we had to do that back in 2002 when our friends at KTVX-Ch. 4 chose to air informercials instead of the finals of the World Cup and our only option was to watch the Univision telecast. Which is still astonishing 2 1/2 years later.

There's still no word from Real Salt Lake about local telecasts of regular-season games. But I'm betting Ch. 4 won't carry any of them.

Your first chance to see an RSL game in English comes March 5, when the Fox Soccer Channel (formerly known as Fox Sports World) is scheduled to rerun that matchup between Salt Lake and Columbus. That is, of course, assuming the Fox Soccer Channel is available on your cable or satellite system.

(Fox Soccer Channel is available on the digital tier of Comcast Cable systems and on both DirecTV and the Dish Network.)

RSL is expected to announce as early as next week a 14-16 game local broadcast schedule, mostly away games, with six on a local broadcast station and 8-10 on local cable.

REPLAY DISMAY? The news that the Mountain West Conference is going to use instant replay during football games beginning this fall is great news for fans . . . unless it turns out to be terrible news for fans.

Depending upon exactly how the MWC decides to work it, I'm all in favor of replays. Officiating mistakes are made at every level of football and, if we have the technology to correct those mistakes, why not use it?

And, quite frankly, MWC officials need all the help they can get.

We've all seen it on TV all the time. In October, I wrote, "If the Mountain West Conference wants to be taken seriously, maybe it ought to do something about the quality of its football officiating. It seems like a league game on ESPN or ESPN2 invariably includes some sort of referee miscue that's roundly ridiculed by the announcers."

The fact that there are so many officiating errors that are obvious on television could cause a problem for the league, however. If play were to stop every time MWC officials blow a call, games could be long. Real long. Four hours. Five hours. Six hours . . .

SIMPLE ANSWER: If you're wondering why there's no NHL season this year, the answer is relatively simple — the league has no network television rights package.

Without that money, the owners and the players are left to fight over a lot less money. The NFL, NBA and major league baseball all get hundreds of millions — even billions — in rights fees.

The NHL had worked out a deal with NBC under which the network would pay the league nothing; the two would share advertising revenue.

'Nuff said.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com

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