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US Open Cup has improved but TV and radio coverage is lacking

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With the level of competition in MLS, NASL and USL improving, this year’s US Open Cup promises to be one of the most competitive in recent memory. Combined with the fact that the level of tension between the three aforementioned leagues is at an all-time high, this makes the 2015 US Open Cup the most anticipated and must-see in years — except that there’s one major problem.

Out of the 75+ US Open Cup games scheduled this year, only one is scheduled for national TV. And that’s the final on FOX Sports. By the time the final is played in September, the cup upsets from earlier rounds will be a distant memory. And in all likelihood, the teams playing in the final will be MLS teams, which waters down the romance of the cup and makes it just feel like another MLS game but with a greater reward for the victor.

Soccer fans across the country would certainly be interested in following more of the latter rounds of the tournament as MLS teams face up against NASL, USL and lower league teams. It’s akin to the FA Cup where soccer fans around England and the rest of the world tune into BBC radio to listen to announcers up and down the country reporting cup upsets by teams we’ve never heard of from tiny stadiums in fascinating locales.

The same could happen in the US. Just take a look at, for example, some of the team names participating in the competition this Wednesday: Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Chattanooga FC, Jersey Express, Tulsa Roughnecks, Colorado Springs Switchbacks and Chula Vista FC. How could you not love a competition like this?

Sadly only a handful of teams will stream games from stadiums, and the quality of the streams are often suspect. With 90+ teams participating this year, you would anticipate more teams being interested in streaming games, but that hasn’t been the case.

The time for the US Open Cup to become more respected has come. And it’s time we did something about it.

Sensing a need for a national broadcast to keep fans updated on the up-to-the-minute developments in games, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. As someone who has loved and preached the magic of the cup for years to my radio listeners, I will be hosting a live audio broadcast this Wednesday, May 27 on Rabble.tv where I’ll be keeping soccer fans in touch with all of the cup upsets and latest developments from the 14 games played that night.

It’ll be the one and only place you can go to hear what’s going on in the oldest ongoing competition in American soccer.

Using your computer or Rabble.tv iPhone app, join me this Wednesday on Rabble.tv beginning at 7pm ET for my US Open Cup whiparound coverage. I’ll be announcing the action as well as to bringing you up-to-speed on the other Round 3 games.

Plus, I’m sure I’ll be talking about the biggest news story of the year — FIFA and CONCACAF officials being indicted on corruption charges.

I want to encourage you to do the same, too. If you’re attending a US Open Cup and you have access to a laptop and a WiFi connection, you can register for free on Rabble.tv and broadcast audio of the game with your opinions and observations.

While MLS and US Soccer are making progress with the TV rights deal they secured with FOX, ESPN and Univision for the next 8 years, it’s time for the US Open Cup to get some respect and greater coverage than just the championship final. After all, the name of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is named after someone who showed a true dedication to sport. It’s time for the TV and radio coverage to live up to that in this 102nd edition of the oldest ongoing soccer competition in the US.

Bookmark Rabble.tv and listen to me there at 7pm ET Wednesday.

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. CK78

    July 24, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Baby steps. We only just got the final on national TV last year and that followed several years of growth in fan interest in the competition mainly spurred by the willingness to prioritize and promote the competition shown first by Seattle and then Sporting KC. And even that was primarily resulting from the smart decision by the USSF to tie the Cup to a CCL berth. We’re seeing incremental growth in the tournament’s prestige and attendances. These days, semifinal and final matches are almost guaranteed to carry healthy to sold-out crowds and quarterfinal attendances aren’t too far from that being the norm as well. With Fox finally dipping their feet in the waters of this tournament, it may not be too long before they decide to expand their coverage to semifinals, quarterfinals, and beyond that,… who knows. The giant-killer rounds might be next as more US soccer fans become exposed to the latter rounds and find entertainment with them. We simply have to be patient. MLS’ current level of coverage didn’t materialize overnight. They used to have to pay for that privilege. And the tournament itself did not become what it currently is without a lot of hard work and marketing by the USSF and the MLS teams that truly cared about this tournament. Now we have Bruce Arena’s Galaxy seemingly finally coming to the party. All of the stars are aligned for continued growth in the future. But it’s growth will always be tied to both the growth of MLS and the ever-increasing emphasis placed upon it by the teams themselves.

  2. Johnny V

    June 2, 2015 at 12:54 am

    MLS needs to hype the US Open cup in their Media and their TV partners. Its something I have not seen in the past .

  3. Tim

    May 28, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I am not sure why everyone is so set on crowds being the issue. I watched two MLB games this week that had no one in the stands and there are multiple NHL and NBA teams that draw poorly but for some reason when it comes to N. American soccer people get very woked up when there are no sell outs. How about this…No one will watch it so TV networks dont want to pay for it. You cant sit here and tell me that anyone will when MLS numbers are not good and most USL and NASL teams have less than lucrative local TV deals let alone no national. Its a great tournament but people need to care first.

  4. fsquid

    May 27, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    It may be entertaining, but it is usually played in front of sparse crowds. Some MLS teams don’t even play their home matches in their usual stadium. Unsure how that would come across on TV.

    • Flyvanescence

      May 27, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      The Philadelphia Union’s league games have pretty sparse crowds and they still get televised.

      • fsquid

        May 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm

        While that is true, that is under the MLS package. This is a package of midweek games that all look like Union matches.

    • Blue Lou

      May 27, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      If spare crowds disqualifies TV coverage, Columbus, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Red Bulls and Colorado are in big trouble!

    • CTBlues

      May 28, 2015 at 8:11 am

      USSF needs to start actually governing the sport in this country instead of letting MLS tell them what’s what. They need to have US Open Cup games on the weekends without league games.

  5. StellaWasAlwaysDown

    May 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I can’t understand why this doesn’t get more press. It’s hands-down the most interesting competition in North America for me.

  6. Flyvanescence

    May 27, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks for the write-up Mr. Feuerstein. Ive been a fan of the Cup for years, and the lack of coverage always disappointed me. Im disappointed to not be able to get out to any of the early round games but plan to be at the Union’s first game in a couple weeks.

    Hopefully i will tune in tonight. I appreciate the effort.

  7. KL

    May 27, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    More money = more coverage. Pretty simple. Right now it is not worth it.

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