UPDATE (6/23, 2:30pm): It’s official! The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and kickoff has been moved to 7pm CDT. The article as originally written is below.
As far as we can tell, nothing has been confirmed yet, so do take this with a grain of salt.
It’s okay to get a little hyped, though.
Real possibility that #ESPN will be covering @fccincinnati @usopencup game vs @ChicagoFire on June 28th. #MLS #USOpenCup— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) June 22, 2017
If this does pan out, this is great news for the Fire. Grabbing another national broadcast will be a nice revenue boost for the club, regardless of how the score shakes out.
It’s also great news for Cincinnati, who would have a golden opportunity to introduce themselves to a national audience. For a team with MLS ambitions, that’s no small thing.
But it’s also great news for the US Open Cup. With no standing broadcast deal for the tournament, fans who want to follow the tournament have to make due with online streams— on YouTube, for a while, and now on some proprietary platform on US Soccer’s homepage. It’s less than ideal. In years past, getting the Final shown on cable TV was the best most of us could hope for. Broadcasting the semifinals last year was a real coup.
Cincinnati vs Chicago is a Fifth Round tie in which one of the teams isn’t in MLS. These kind of games don’t get on TV. Ever. So while this is potentially a huge get for the Fire (and Cincy), this could represent the first rumblings of a seismic shift in the domestic soccer landscape— one in which sub-Division I teams are taken seriously and given a real platform.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
We will, of course, update you if and when this becomes official.