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Monday, July 9, 2012

Can the US Open Cup Become a Tradition on the Wednesday after the MLB All-Star Game?

The Wednesday after MLB's Tuesday All-Star game is one of the only 'open' days on the entire sports year calendar.

ESPN agrees and that is why they broadcast their ESPYS on this day.

In fact, it's so open, Gatorade is runnning a promotion calling it 'National Recovery Day.'  

In its promotion, Gatorade claims that July 11th is a day when U.S. sports takes a break from competition.  They are teaming up with a group called the National Athletic Trainers Association to push athletes to take a break and recover from their strenuous training sessions. 

MLS scheduled one match for Wednesday, but it is between two Canadian teams.  Otherwise, there are no other MLS scheduled matches. 

When Gatorade went about planning this promotion, they were correct in assuming that no U.S. major sports were participating in active competition on July 11th.  But, the United States Soccer Federation has since scheduled the two semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup 2012 for this date.

The openness of the date brings about the discussion of why doesn't MLS have a full schedule of matches.  Wouldn't this be an ideal time to drive sports consumers to their product, since baseball is still in its mid-season break?

Maybe the ESPYS are just too difficult of an obstacle for MLS to overcome on this Wednesday. Possibly, they feel it is better to not compete against the sports industry's biggest awards night.

So, then, what about the Monday before the MLB All-Star game?  Going up against Home-Run Derby is not so intimidating.  An intriguing MLS doubleheader offers another option and the chance to reel in new fans to the game.

USSF is betting Wednesday works well and could possibly schedule matches again next year on the same Wednesday following the MLB All-Star game.

If MLS is willing to leave the schedule open for this day, then, Soccer tradition may have a new place on the sports calendar.

The US Soccer Open Cup has to build up its branding.  Maybe it has found a day on the sports calendar to brand its semifinals.  Or, in future years, should it try to play the Cup Final on this 'open' Wednesday?

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