An ode to Illegal Streams

I watched the U.S. Open Cup final last night on a stream that had neither scoreboard graphics nor commentary. The game was televised, but only by GolTV; I’ve lamented the Open Cup’s lack of television coverage before. The Sounders beat the Union and won their fourth cup in six years, with many people watching the same illegal stream. For a lot of us, it had been a while.

There was a time, not that long ago, when the illegal streams were all we had. I was one of the many who did not have Fox Soccer, and so did not have the Premier League, Champions League and all those other fun competitions. If we wanted to watch soccer on a Saturday morning, we’d have to find a stream for it. In a perfect world, this stream would both have high video quality and English commentary. This is so rarely a perfect world.

Times have changed, and quickly. First ESPN began airing a Premier League game every week, then NBCSN showed the whole lot. Every game, every week, as they’re so fond of saying. Fox Soccer went by the wayside, and the more readily available Fox Sports 1 took up its remaining content. 2014 is a veritable soccer paradise compared even to 2010.

And it’s only going to get better. The Bundesliga will leave GolTV next year, as will the U.S. Open Cup. MLS will have three national broadcasts every week, with the remaining games streamed by ESPN. We are spoiled, and growing more spoiled.

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