A Comcast-driven Dilemma: Gold Cup or Copa Oro?

Few countries in the world offer as much for soccer fans in the United States. Within range, there are tons of soccer-crazed bars and pubs, and the occasional national team game.  This summer alone, we’ll see Barcelona, Manchester United, MLS games, Copa America and much more. However, when it comes to watching the most important tournament for the United States national team this summer, a difficult decision hangs in the balance for many soccer fans.

The Gold Cup is an important step for the men’s national team this summer, but more selfishly, it offers a chance to see the US team play meaningful games at convenient times. These are games where fans do not have to get up at 6am to watch their team play, nor do they have to risk being fired for watching the game at work (ATDHE, you are a gift from the gods, but please stop putting viruses on my work computer, my bosses are getting suspicious). Meaningful weeknight games are a rarity for US soccer fans, and the Gold Cup delivers plenty over the next three weeks.

Unfortunately for fans that also subscribe to Comcast, Fox Soccer Channel is not yet available in HD aside from the “test markets” of Albuquerque, Philadelphia and Seattle. The rest of the country is stuck watching in standard definition, or so we thought. Lucky for us, Copa Oro is wildly popular with the Spanish speaking community as well, evidenced by the 80,000-plus that witnessed Mexico’s beatdown of El Salvador at Cowboys Stadium this past weekend. Telefutura and Univision are also carrying the games, and both of those channels are available in HD. I found myself watching both Costa Rica vs. Cuba and Mexico vs. El Salvador without even checking to see if they were on FSC in English.

When the USA takes on Canada Tuesday night, many fans will be faced with the dilemma of watching on FSC with American commentators or on Telefutura HD with Spanish speaking announcers. The difference in picture quality is such that the decision is not a difficult one in the least. Telefutura’s presentation is not overly fancy or intrusive and after a few minutes, it is just as easy to ignore their commentators as it would be to ignore JP Dellacamara or whoever else is in the FSC booth (I’d be OK if I never heard JP say “This is better from the US” again).

The one oddity of the Spanish broadcast is the restarting of the scoreboard clock at halftime. It takes a bit of adjusting to when you see “2T, 26:00” and have to add 45 to that to realize it is actually the 71st minute. It doesn’t make much sense but then again, it doesn’t make much sense to bring a 37 year old Cuauhtemoc Blanco to the World Cup either.

Ideally, fans would have a dual-TV system where you could sync it up to have the FSC commentators turned up and watch the HD feed on mute. Realistically, that is probably not an option for most people so the decision must be made: Copa Oro or Gold Cup.

I, for one, will be choosing Copa Oro, and while I understand that will be met with criticism with the fierce USA-Mexico rivalry undertone, it is simply a personal enjoyment decision. Soccer in HD is head and shoulders above SD, and while FSC/Comcast lag behind, Copa Oro is a far more enjoyable experience. The occasional “goooaaalllll” call never hurt anyone either.

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26 Responses to A Comcast-driven Dilemma: Gold Cup or Copa Oro?

  1. Robert says:

    Whenever I get a chance I always watch games in Spanish. As a Mexican-American something seems off watching American Soccer with an Englishmen doing the commentary.

    Plus, the eye candy on Univision is second to none. Replubica Deportiva anyone?

    • Dave C says:

      I’m an Englishman in America with no more than a passing casual support for the US team, but I have to agree with you about the eye candy on the Spanish-language channels. Political correctness be damned, those guys will include scantily clad girls dancing in any and all TV shows they produce. I love it.

  2. Terrence says:

    Is there a French broadcast for Canada too?

    When you have an apertura and clausura system, the 1T and 2T probably feels more natural. The bigger issue I have with some spanish broadcasts is the likelyhood that you’ll miss the first minute of the game/half for a commercial.

  3. jimsakeeper says:

    Good point, if you allow the assumption that no one is bilingual or speaks even “soccer Spanish.” When I get together with a crowd of friends who play, 80% of us speak enough Spanish to follow the game. In general, the level of insight and respect for the viewers’ intelligence is much higher on the Spanish channels. Did anyone catch the ESPN pre-game for the Champions League final where Brad Friedel and others explained that soccer players bounce the ball off their heads?

    • Charles says:

      I thought the production was good, the content was stupid.

      Looked like a NASL game on ABC in the 1970s. Here is a new sport, it is followed ALL over the World. Let me tell you about it.

      It was needed then. 30-40 years ago.

  4. Charles says:

    1) GALA ( part of Univision ) is a gift from God, they do a Game every week for MLS.
    The announcers are not some boring British guy, most of which know nothing about the Americans…..or worse former Americans trying to be British. If I hear “good form” and “did very well there” one more time on ESPN……

    2) I can’t understand a lick of Spanish, but the rhythm is so much better announcing, and you can understand the names they call out and Goal is Gol is Gooooooooooooooooool !

    3) I love the clock, shows the idiots married to the way things are done elsewhere that even very powerful soccer countries do it differently.

    • Dave C says:

      If I hear “good form” and “did very well there” one more time on ESPN

      Those are hardly English colloquialisms.

      • Charles says:

        Well I don’t really care where Harkes got them from.
        Get rid of him and them.

        He had said “good form” 4 times in a very short pregame comment the other day.

  5. ZEKES says:


  6. Tuttle says:

    George Carlin used to have a funny routine about listening to baseball on Spanish radio. You only have to know the player’s names and (in baseball) how to count to three. Everything else you can gather just from the tone in which it is said.

    Given commentators at FSC’s track record, I’d probably watch it in Spanish even if it was not in HD.

  7. Sancho says:

    About the game clock, as a Brazilian myself, I have a similar problem. But, it works the other way around for me. I must subtract 45′ whenever I am watching a second half of an European or American broadcasted match to know exactly the time of the game.

    I am so used to the “two halfs of 45 minutes”, that I believe that what doesn’t make any sense is to stop the clock in the 45th and 90th minute and count the stoppage time separatedly…

  8. coconutmonkey says:

    It doesn’t matter what language the audio is in, picture quality is king.


  9. Sancho says:

    FYI, I would go without commentators always, if the option was to have just the stadium’s sounds…

    • Charles says:

      They did that for a NFL game once a long time ago.

      Everyone was excited about it. It wasn’t good.
      At all. To say that “it wasn’t that great” would be a HUGE overstatement.

      • Sancho says:

        Go figure! I thought this should be a no-brainer. No more “Brady knows where his feet are” and other nonsenses. But, I’m not radical on this. I just need the SAP option. People can continue to hear commentators telling how the game is not being played, if they want to…

  10. Matt says:

    if anyone was watching Telefutura, when showing the lineups we saw that the USA is led by Head Coach Bob Bradkey.

  11. jimsakeeper says:

    Telefutura had Jesus Bracamontes in the booth. I think he must be one of the best in either language. His credentials for knowing the game are strong and he brings a great mix of enthusiasm and knowledge.

    Hugo Sanchez on the other hand seems to be coasting on his name alone. Bland and unoriginal.

  12. Derek says:

    Dish Network has FSC in HD

  13. Luigi Rampini says:

    I’m South American. The soccer commentators in the Spanish channels are -unfotunately- for the most part, Mexicans. Their knowledge are very basic at most, and they have a tendency to yell all the time for no reason at all. I mean, the game starts and the guy is already yelling: “¡Coooomeennnzoooo¡” (it started). Shut up already! Mexican and Central American people are way behind in soccer than the rest of Spanish speaking countries. The best countries in this area are comparable with the worse in South America, like Ecuador, Bolivia or Colombia.

    By the way, it makes more sense to start again when you are counting time in the second half than restart at 45. All the other sports start their periods at zero. Am I mistaken?

  14. A, Ruiz says:

    Seriously Luigi? Whenever I see an argentine game on Fox soccer in spanish the south american announcers are just as loud and bombastic.

    • Sancho says:

      The problem is when…

    • Luigi Rampini says:

      It’s OK to yell and be excited when the situation calls for it. But to yell out the start of the game? They’re calling soccer, not a boxing match.
      Plain stupid.

      And please don’t mention that pig-face Cantor. The guy acts like he invented yelling “goooaal”

      • Sancho says:

        Best commentator in the world! At youtube:


        P.S.: It’s an Uruguayan ad, for a Cable TV channel, making fun of radio commentators.

  15. adam smith says:

    But Comcast doesn’t offer Univision in HD. At least not in my area.

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