CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer and ESPN+ have reached a multi-year media rights agreement for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
All Open Cup matches from the first round through the Final will air exclusively on ESPN+, the direct-to-consumer sports streaming service, beginning this year and running through the 109th edition of the tournament in 2022.
The deal, negotiated by SUM on behalf of U.S. Soccer, includes rights in all languages.
The Open Cup on ESPN+ kicks off May 7-8 with the first round, featuring 38 amateur and Division III professional teams from across the United States.
Twenty-five Division II professional teams will enter in the second round on May 14-15, while the third round, scheduled for May 29, provides a final hurdle before lower division sides get their shot to square off against the 21 U.S.-based Major League Soccer clubs on a national stage.
Those Division I MLS teams join the competition in the fourth round June 12.
“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,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling. “This exciting property joins a robust collection of soccer’s best domestic cup competitions on ESPN+.”
“We are extremely pleased by the commitment from ESPN+ to broadcast every game of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the next several years,” U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn said. “This landmark agreement demonstrates U.S. Soccer’s commitment to making soccer the preeminent sport in the United States and is the result of growing audience demand for soccer in the U.S. It will provide a national platform for more fans to follow the game in their communities throughout the country.”