Dropping the ball on the World Cup

Jake Corbin is a state employee who’s played soccer since he was 6 years old

When it comes to covering the World Cup, Sacramento’s ABC affiliate, News10, just keeps dropping the ball.

Although the station reversed the blunder of a decision to air a Sacramento Monarchs game over the United States’ match with Italy, the station turned around and dropped the ball again. Any soccer fan who tuned in the morning of Saturday, June 17—and I’m sure there were plenty of us—was left asking the question, “What happened to the Czech Republic’s match with Ghana?”

The simple answer to that question is that good ol’ News10 simply decided not to run it. While the rest of the top 20 television markets, and probably most of the viewers in the country, were able to enjoy the game on their local ABC station, soccer fans in Sacramento were treated to children’s programming.

I don’t want to debate the quality of shows like That’s So Raven, but it was, needless to say, extremely deflating to see that that is what News10 decided to run. Who at News10 is making the decision not to carry the world’s largest sports competition, in favor of preteen junk TV?

Someone at the station hasn’t figured out that the United States is not the only team that matters in this World Cup. This person—with programming clout, no less—obviously isn’t familiar with the concept of group play in a tournament and hasn’t figured out what viewers really want to see.

That Saturday morning, Ghana defeated the Czech Republic 2-0 and blew Group E competition wide open, giving the United States a chance to advance. If it weren’t for Univision, I wouldn’t have been able to watch a second of this match, one that may very well determine the U.S. team’s future in this World Cup.

While I’m happy I did get to watch the game, I’m still reeling at News10’s decision to air shows like The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Phil of the Future over a worldwide sports event. The whole thing is such a slap in the face.

“We listened to our viewers. We always do, and we always have,” Margaret Mohr, News10’s vice president of marketing, was quoted as saying in The Sacramento Bee after announcing the station was planning on carrying the U.S. game live.

Well, Margaret, you may be listening, but you just don’t get it.