World Cup ‘blackout’ affects Cayman


Don’t worry – there’s nothing wrong
with the TV and the cable hasn’t gone out.

But watching World Cup 2010
coverage on ESPN or Univision in the Cayman Islands is not an option.

Some of those in the Cayman Islands
who haven’t been able to view the World Cup games on ESPN (WestStar channel 30)
since Sunday began angrily e-mailing the Caymanian Compass over the weekend
asking why the coverage had been blacked out.

According to WestStar TV Operations
Director Tracy Bradley, the blackout of the US-based broadcast network ESPN as
well as Mexico-based Univision is due to distribution rights for the World Cup
in the Caribbean. That arrangement allows WestStar to provide the World Cup
only on its local channels, Cayman 27 and Island 24.

“Broadcasting rights are a major
source of income for FIFA (world football’s governing body), which sells distribution
rights for specific regions and WestStar has acquired the broadcast
distribution rights in the Cayman Islands,” a press release from the company

“These rights require WestStar to
only carry the feed delivered from IMC, the authorised re-seller in the
Caribbean, to ensure the interests of the sponsors are protected. As a result,
all (World Cup) feeds on the other cable channels have been blacked out.”

Games were shown on ESPN through
Saturday. The blackout on Spanish-language Univision apparently did not occur
until Wednesday.

It was inopportune timing for Ronny
McLaughlin and his family.

Mr. McLaughlin and his family
members – some of whom originally hail from Honduras – had woken up early to
watch Los Catrachos’ World Cup opener against Chile; start time 6:30am. But all
they saw was a blank screen on Univision.

Mr. McLaughlin said his family and
friends had watched the previous 13 World Cup games on the Spanish-language
station. All of them speak English, but he said that’s not the point.

“We pay for both of the Spanish
stations,” he said. “Why did it have to happen this morning?”

Adding injury to insult, the
Hondurans lost their first World Cup game since 1982 by a 1-0 score line.

“We regret any inconvenience this
may cause our viewers,” Ms. Bradley said, “but are pleased to offer full
coverage of the World Cup on Cayman 27 and Island 24.”


WestStar’s blackout of the Honduras v Chile and other World Cup matches has angered local football fans who want to watch the games on ESPN or Univision.


  1. The commentary picture and sound quality are sub standard. I bought the HD package on the basis of Westars advertising. Now they have blocked it.
    I have called Westar and they gave me a credit for HD. Westar have had four years to prepare for this event so I have no sympathy if they get complaints from customers.
    Mr McLaughlan I suggest you call and ask for a credit on your account. Its the least they can do.

  2. Thanks for your advice rob green
    i called westar and they gave me a credit for the difference between digital classic and digital starter.
    I had to be persistent but in the end they couldn’t justisfy charging for channels that were not being provided.
    If wish they would just switch them back on though I’m very dissapointed with the coverage. Come on Westar your not cheap so don’t act cheap!

  3. Thanks for the advice Rob Green, I’ve got a credit too.
    I wish Westar would improve their broadcast though. They must have bought the cheapest package possible.

  4. West Star TV provides a horrible poor service. Feeds are poor and switch unexpectedly, the menu is not right most times and it is not unusual to have black outs even in channels that we pay extra for. Commercial breaks are not timely and interrupt the programming.
    I pay every month for the extra channels precisely for the sports events. These events are promoted in these channels however the fact is that West Star does not want to pay the rights for those channels together with the compromise to his main local sponsors. I actually would not be surprised if the local sponsors demanded transmissions in other channels be blacked out so we all have to watch their commercials.Plain and simple, we the customers have not choice and get punished. West Star service record is horrible but they do not care because there is no competition. There are many of us that can not afford satellite TV installation or simple we are tenants and we can not have the system installed. I hope the Chamber of Commerce gets wind of this situation in order to help to protect the customers rights. For the moment West Star want us to thank them we get to watch the matches. If we complaint too much we may not get to watch any game at all!

  5. It is very sad that despite paying for a service we are not allowed to view the World Cup games in our own Spanish language. Weststar TV had four years to prepare for this like Rob Green states! This just shows the little regard that is found here towards the entire Latino community. It is extremely different watching a game with an English commentator than watching one with a Spanish commentator, the passion that we have for this game is far away from being imitated by these English commentators we are forced to watch!!!!

  6. And how will the advertisers like it that a lot of people just won’t watch the coverage at all since it is so poor? I understand it is breaking up badly today. And isn’t it is up to Weststar to give us the best coverage possible for everyone?

  7. I’m afraid I have worse news if you are following any of these countries;
    Mexico, Uruguay, Nigeria, Korea RP, USA, Algeria, Australia, Serbia, Paraguay, New Zealand, Denmark, Japan, Korea DPR, Cote D’Ivoire, Chile & Spain.

    The final group games will not be broadcast live on Westar (according to their schedule). These will be on in evening after you know the score.
    By the way, ESPN & ESPN2 are showing all the final group games live. Why can’t Westar just use 24 & 27 at the same time?
    I’d be interested to hear from anyone from those proud footballing nations – what are your thoughts?

    Editor’s note: We are checking with WestStar to confirm the commenter’s statements.

  8. I support Denmark. The last group game will probably be our most important match.
    Please WestStar turn ESPN back on so that I can support my team. This tournament doesn’t happen very often and I have been so excited.

  9. What is it I do not get, folks? I have read about the issues your island is facing, from over the top crime to cut backs in the workforce and financial problems and lack of tourists and yet I have NEVER seen as many responses as I have about the issues regarding World Cup viewing! So many responses, yet nothing about what really effects YOUR LIFE IN GRAND CAYMAN. It is very sad and perplexing. Look ahead people and be afraid, very!

  10. Lucy,
    To quote the late great Bill Shankly; "some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you it is much more serious than that"
    Does that give you some insight?

  11. Lucy,
    The West Star TV problem it is not just a "big fuss for a ball game". It has to do with the rights of a paying customer to a fair service for the money; it has to do with the management and the employees that work there to do the "right thing" and not just the "convenient thing". The big issues that we have in the country and believe you me, I know about them and how important they are, they start from taking care and giving importance to the small issues. This is the seed from where the more serious issues grow to be: RESPECT! Chopping a TV show, parking on the handicapped parking slot, throwing trash out of the car window, individually don’t seem too bad. But when you put them all together those acts that we allowed to happen to avoid a confrontation or we start to get use to, give birth to the wrong behavior and eventually someone running a business thinks it is not too bad to charge full price for half the service. Soon the line that divides the right from wrong gets confusing and all start to seem pretty right. No, it is not that I care more about a football game that the other serious things that happen in my country. I care about been deceived by a "white glove" company and not do anything about it. My values are where they should be. In the end, where I was born and until not too long ago, we watched the World Cup in a black and white TV set with a lot of interference, moving the piece of wire we used as an antenna for best reception. It is about defending my rights as a consumer and deserving respect from the provider. Respect, something that we seem to be lacking lately on this island, especially by the people that should set an example.

  12. We had ESPN for 2 games yesterday, Sunday, and what a difference!!! I can only think someone at Weststar was asleep at the switch, so to speak, and didn’t get up in time to turn off ESPN. Hopeful though we were that they had changed channels, the coverage on ABC and this morning are back to the usual second rate package.

  13. I would be interested to hear from the Compass on feedback from WestStar on my comment of 17 June that only half of the final group games will be broadcast live. This is despite the fact that they are all covered by ESPN and ESPN2 which WestStar will be blocking.
    I feel sorry for DanishBacon whose team played gallantly at the weekend and their WC fate will be decided in the final match against Japan which Westar will not show live.
    It appears that while we have all paid for all of the games and in some instances paid for HD or Spanish upgrades, WestStar have forgot to pay for their bit.

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