The 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the 100th edition, has announced its format and other information.
The big news is that the prize money has nearly doubled, with the full prize pool increased from $180,000 to $355,000. The top prize for the winner goes up from $100,000 to $250,000. The prize for the runner-up will be $60,000, while the top second-tier, third-tier and amateur teams will each get $15,000.
The prize change comes as the U.S. Soccer Federation announced that it had turned a profit with the U.S. Open Cup the past two seasons.
With the increase in the number of teams, with 12 now coming from USL Pro and 6 still coming from NASL, the tournament will now include 68 teams, over eight rounds. Those teams will include 16 from the PDL, 8 from NPSL, 8 from the U.S. Adult Soccer Association (USASA), and one each from U.S. Club Soccer and U.S. Specialty Sports Association (Specialty Sports).
Play-in Round: the qualifier from the U.S. Club Soccer and the qualifier from Specialty Sports will play the two lowest qualifiers from the NPSL.
First Round: The two winners will be mixed in with the other teams from the NPSL, the USASA, the PDL and the four lowest teams from USL Pro (the two lowest 2012 seeds, Dayton Dutch Lions and Pittsburgh Riverhounds; and expansion teams VSI Tampa Bay FC and Phoenix FC).
Second Round: the remaining minor-league pro teams from USL Pro and NASL join the first-round winners.
Third Round: the MLS teams join the second round winners.
From there, the tournament will be re-drawn each round until the championship is held on the weekend of October 1. Orlando City will join in on Tuesday, May 21.
In another interesting note: the “sealed-bid” process to buy the rights to host matches has been done away with, in favor of random draw. The semifinal and final hosts will be determined by coin flip.