Although getting permission to show the game wasn't exactly a free kick, Saturday's U.S.-England World Cup match will be telecast at the Philadelphia Union's brand-new Chester stadium as part of an open house for season ticket-holders.
About a month ago, the Union applied for the OK to televise the game on the day when soccer fans would be getting their first peek inside the riverfront stadium, said Tom Veit, the Union's president. The World Cup governing body, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), had concerns about sponsorship issues. Panasonic, for example, is a Union sponsor; Sony is the World Cup's.
But Veit said Friday that all the issues had been resolved and that the showing would go on.
The World Cup telecast will be part of the PPL Park open house, and Veit said from 4,500 to 5,000 season ticket-holders had responded to invitations to attend.
Federation officials did not respond to a request for comment, but any balkiness would not be surprising, said Wayne McDonnell, a sports-business expert at New York University.
Soccer may be on the perimeter of the U.S. consciousness, but it is at the center of the rest of the sporting world's, and is a giant international economic force.
The soccer federation is as protective of the World Cup as the NFL is of the Super Bowl, said McDonnell, and is particularly sensitive to sponsorship.
"When you're paying billions and billions of dollars for global sponsorship, you're going to protect those rights at all costs," McDonnell said. "They're probably being protective of the people with whom they entered business relationships."
Asked how Union officials dealt with the federation's concerns over Panasonic vs. Sony, Veit said:
"We took the sign down."