All World Cup games to be seen on US daytime TV

Football fans in the United States will enjoy live coverage of every single game of the 2006 World Cup on the ABC free-to-air network and its sports affiliate ESPN. The decision marks a major commitment to the sport by the TV channels, which are devoting precious afternoon airtime to the tournament. Though ABC and ESPN also transmitted the 2002 World Cup live from South Korea and Japan, those games took place in the early morning hours in the US and did not displace other programming.

The initial highlight of the coverage will be the US-Italy game on Saturday, 17 June, on the Disney-owned ABC channel. All of the tournament matches will be broadcast in high definition for the first time ever. During the World Cup, ESPN will also present World Cup Live - a daily highlight and analysis show of all the tournament action.

Sports consultant Neal Pilson told Variety newspaper that American interest in the World Cup has grown in recent years because "the US men's and women's soccer teams have become much more competitive."