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WORLD CUP NOTES
Published June 10, 1998
WILL U.S. WATCH? ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will present more than 230 hours of coverage during the 32-day event. Every one of the 64 games will be seen live, with 14 on ABC, 27 on ESPN and 23 on ESPN2. Matches will start at 8:00am ET, with the latest one starting at 2:30pm ET. ESPN2 will also replay the "best match of the day" every night at 8:00pm ET (WASHINGTON POST, 6/10). The Brazil-Scotland match kicks off ESPN's coverage today. Univision will also carry 56 games live and eight tape-delayed telecasts (L.A. TIMES, 6/10). In N.Y., Vivian Toy writes that despite every Cup match being carried on U.S. TV, Americans "are still only vaguely aware of the World Cup" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/10). In San Antonio, Kevin O'Keeffe writes that the TV ratings will depend on the performance of Team USA, adding that there is "no substitute" for winning (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS,6/10). ANY U.S. BOUNCE? In L.A., Mike Penner writes his column under the header, "Soccer Can Make It In The U.S. As Soon As U.S. Can Make It In The World Cup." Penner writes that the "biggest obstacle impeding soccer in this country, in 1998, in the World Cup. Because we are non-factors in the biggest soccer tournament on the planet, again ... the World Cup is a non-factor in the Nielsen-and-sports-talk-radio ratings." His solution: "Easy answer: Win the World Cup" (L.A. TIMES, 6/10). In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton writes that the Cup holds little interest in the U.S.: "To most Americans, soccer will never quite make it onto the big stage. Over the next five weeks, we will read the datelines ... we will hear the players' names, and it'll all get lost in the translation. ... [T]he world's most popular sport may have already found its niche back here" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 6/10). In S.F., Peter Fimrite writes that "predictions of a soccer boom have been made before, and as of now, the sport still plays fifth fiddle to baseball, football, basketball and hockey, at least when one considers" TV ratings (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/10). NOTES: Nike Sports Marketing Manager Joaque Hidalgo, on Brazil's Ronaldo: "We know for fact that he is the most global of all athletes today, bar none" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 6/9)....New FIFA President Sepp Blatter, on the "nasty" campaign between he and European Soccer Union head Lennart Johansson: "There were one or two fouls, but no tackles from behind" (INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, 6/9).