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Founder, The Sports Court
American sports have everything. From fairytale stories of underdog teams to the biggest markets in the world, being a sports fan in America is an experience that no other sports fan from any other country can truly appreciate until they come to America.
In the US, unlike most countries where there are only 1-2 major sporting leagues, America has 4. On top of that, the MLS, PGA, Tennis, UFC, and collegiate sports, are all very well in the mix.
If you combine all of this, America has 9+ major sports, an unprecedented number that no country comes even close to reaching.
However, despite this all, there is something in two sports that haven’t been developed yet, something that could draw eyes to an American sporting event, unlike any other championship can.
A tournament consisting of every minor league baseball team and every MLB team in the country, all single elimination. And the same with hockey, all minor league hockey teams (go Hershey Bears!) and all NHL teams, all in one big tournament.
The majority of the world already uses this idea, but America doesn’t, and it’s a shame.
Perhaps the most successful version of this format is in England, the tournament is called the ‘FA Cup’, one of the most prestigious soccer events in the whole world. This tournament allows millions to see clubs they never heard of before, such as Marine AFC, an 8 tier side who advanced to the 3rd round of the Cup and played Tottenham Hotspur.
The best part about this - despite the fact one of the world's biggest clubs played an 8th division side - is that they played the game on Marine’s home ground, Rossett Park!
American soccer also uses this format, and teams such as FC Cincinnati, who were in the USL at the time (have since joined MLS) advanced to the semi-finals. Another club based out of Orange County, California, called Orange County FC, who play in the NSPL, the 4th division of American soccer, beat their hometown rivals, Orange County SC, who play professionally in the USL.
video via Los Angeles Sports Today/Youtube
The tiny 4th division club went on to beat another USL side, Las Vegas Lights, in a penalty shoot-out, before losing in the fourth round of the cup to MLS side, LA Galaxy.
This format in both baseball and hockey could forever change the game. It would be a huge attraction for lower league teams and could help bring in much-needed money to smaller budgeted teams as well as creating buzz around the team and getting more eyes on a local team!
Hypothetically, imagine the New York Yankees versus the Down East Wood Ducks, or the LA Dodgers versus the Modesto Nuts.
On the other side, hockey is scientifically proven to be the most unpredictable sport, it’s truly a sport where anything can happen.
Every hockey fan in the world would love to see a game between the Boston Bruins and Greenville Swamp Rabbits.
With a good TV Provider such as ESPN/ESPN+, both of these tournaments have the potential to be huge and largely beneficial to both sports.
A tournament that gets eyes on to the screen for a sport is a win, and these tournaments will help drive and generate much-needed buzz and revenue to teams who are smaller and have much tighter budgets than big teams such as the New York Yankees, who are valued at over $4 billion.
In sum, I hope Rob Manfred or Gary Bettman read this article and give this idea a good look because the format has worked in nearly every other country, and why not give the underdogs a chance in the land of opportunity, the United States of America.
photo via https://content.sportslogos.net/news/2015/03/header-milb-logos.png
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All Editorials written by Chris Dailey