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Sunday, July 14, 2024

U.S. Open Cup Brings Messi Mania To New Broadcasters

  • Apple has MLS rights but the U.S. Open Cup is run by U.S. Soccer.
  • CBS Sports and Telemundo will have broadcasts of Inter Miami-FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night.
Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Inter Miami continues its quest for its second trophy in the brief but already brilliant Lionel Messi era on Wednesday night.

After winning the inaugural Leagues Cup — which came with a $2 million prize — this past weekend, Inter Miami faces FC Cincinnati in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Tickets for the match at Cincinnati’s 26,000-seat TQL Stadium are unsurprisingly reaching astronomical prices as Messi’s U.S. tour hits another city.

The match marks a rare opportunity for a broadcaster other than Apple — which is paying $250 million annually for MLS media rights — to profit from Messi’s Inter Miami stint. CBS Sports will stream the game, which begins at 7 p.m. ET, on its Golazo Network, Paramount+, and Pluto TV. Telemundo and Peacock have the Spanish-language broadcast rights for the match.

Messi’s appeal is creating new business for the U.S. Open Cup organizer, too. Just this month, U.S. Soccer was even able to sell global media rights to the remainder of the tournament, which will now air in more than 100 countries.

A U.S. Open Cup title would bring Inter Miami a modest $300,000 and a slot in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup — but the Leagues Cup win has already qualified the club for that tournament, which in turn could lead to a berth in the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup.

Messi is set to start and likely play the entire match, despite playing his sixth match in 22 days — another sign the Argentinian star is committed to boosting soccer’s profile in the U.S., which he feels is ripe for growth.

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