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