The U.S. Open Cup will have more exposure than ever starting in 2019, with ESPN+ and U.S. Soccer agreeing to terms on a deal that will feature every match of the tournament on the streaming platform. The Lamar Hunt U.S. open cup will be running its 106th edition this year.
The deal, which runs through 2022–the same year U.S. Soccer and MLS’s current TV rights deal expires–will begin the first week of May, with the first round of the cup, which includes 38 amateur teams. The second round includes twenty-five USL professional teams, but it is not until the third round scheduled for May 29 that MLS teams join the competition.
The Executive Vice President of ESPN, Burke Magnus said “The U.S. Open Cup is America’s version of what is truly unique about soccer around the world. Knockout format club tournaments that invite the ‘Davids’ and the ‘Goliaths’ from all levels of the sport to compete against one another to determine the nation’s top team.
All teams which are U.S. soccer affiliated can compete in this championship. Houston Dynamo will defend the title they won in 2018. Thanks to that they qualified for the Concacaf Championship and won $300.000 in prize money. Not only the Lamar Cup Champion wins prize money, also the teams from the lower divisions that advances further do. MLS teams continue the streak of dominance since 2000, but after this deal, lower division teams expect to gain in confidence and compete for the championship.