• by: Phil Cantor/@osgphil

Have You Ever Heard of the U.S Open Cup Soccer Tournament?


It's not the U.S. Open Golf Tournament and it is not the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, it's a Soccer Tournament that unless you are a super-hardcore Soccer fan, you likely have never heard of.

Along with playing a Major League Soccer regular season, most--at least I think most MLS teams participate in the "Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Soccer Tournament"--a tourney that has existed in some form believe it or not since 1914.

The tourney features some 97 amateur and professionally sanctioned teams who compete for a trophy and a by today's standards---miniscule $300,000 prize. It does allow the winner to qualify for the CONCAF Champions League tournament for whatever that is worth. For the Pro's, honestly, I don't know why they play, it competes with their regular season and several other tournaments for their attention taking a physical toll on an already tired bunch.

You'd think with all the love soccer has gotten of late this would be a tournament plastered all over TV and the internet, covered from stem to stern.

You'd be wrong.

Yes, apparently the tournament has been going on for a few months under the cover of darkness. There is ZERO coverage of the event outside ESPN-plus. Zero. No local coverage, no local TV, no local radio. Nothing.

Which seems completely counterproductive for a game and sport that is battling Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey and more for attention and headlines. A complete and total head scratcher. But hey, the tourney has been around for over 100-years, so someone is paying attention---right?? While Soccer has been rocketing up the attention spans of many sports fans for the past couple of years, ultimately the sports success here in the U.S is going to be appealing to casual fans. Soccer junkies will be there no matter what happens and are totally familiar with all of these "Tournaments". Which is great, but it doesn't build to mainstream success.

Take heed from Golf, NASCAR, Tennis and others who have had their moments over the past 20/30 years only to lose their mainstream marketability and fade into the shadows of pro sports.

Listen. I'm a casual fan who works closely with a group of Hardcore fans with Soccer Down Here. Since I help oversee OSG Sports, I mostly watch as they continue to amaze with their knowledge and production skills. Even they don't understand the "Cup".

It seems completely counterproductive to hold an event and try to appeal to the least amount of fans possible. Here in Atlanta, the United, a team which easily and often fills their 70,000 seat home stadium in Downtown Atlanta, doesn't get to play in said stadium.

Most casual United fans probably aren't aware the team is even competing in "The Cup". They played less than 24-hours before I wrote this in front of 7,000 fans at their Developmental Teams stadium 30 miles north in Kennesaw. The hardcore fans in the Northwest Atlanta suburbs came to some extent, nobody else in the Metro Area even knew the team was playing as those running the cup have basically prohibited local coverage.

But hey, what the heck. I don't run the tournament, those who do must know something if they've been around so long. As long as ESPN-plus pays them and teams clamor to participate---they certainly don't need Public Relations and Marketing advice from me.

There's nothing wrong I suppose with being happy with what you are and with your place in the world. If you don't want more---than continue being you. Something tells me though the overlords of soccer---if they understood the opportunity in front of them better than they appear to, would be doing everything they can to get the word out.

Maybe I'm the one who is wrong---but I don't think so....

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