Lamar Hunt

Lamar Hunt (August 2, 1932 – December 13, 2006) was an American businessman notable for his promotion of American football, soccer, basketball, tennis and ice hockey in the United States and for his efforts in conjunction with his brothers, William Herbert Hunt and Nelson Bunker Hunt, to corner the silver market in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

He was the principal founder of the American Football League (AFL) and Major League Soccer (MLS), as well as MLS's predecessor, the North American Soccer League (NASL), and co-founder of World Championship Tennis. He was also the founder and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL), the Kansas City Wizards of MLS, and at the time of his death owned two other MLS teams, Columbus Crew and FC Dallas. In Kansas City, Hunt also helped establish the Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun theme parks.

The oldest ongoing national soccer tournament in the United States, the U.S. Open Cup (founded 1914), now bears his name in honor of his pioneering role in that sport stateside. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972; into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1982; and into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993. The National Soccer Hall of Fame bestowed upon Hunt their Medal of Honor in 1999, an award given to only three recipients in history thus far. He was married for 42 years to his second wife Norma, and had four children, Sharron, Lamar Jr., Daniel, and Clark Hunt.

Lamar Hunt
Posed head-shot photograph of Hunt wearing large metal-framed eyeglasses and smiling
Hunt c. 1990
Position:Owner
Personal information
Born:August 2, 1932
El Dorado, Arkansas
Died:December 13, 2006 (aged 74)
Dallas, Texas
Career information
High school:Pottstown (PA) The Hill
College:SMU
Career history
As executive:
Career highlights and awards

Biography

Early life

Hunt was born in El Dorado, Arkansas, the son of oil tycoon H. L. Hunt and younger brother of tycoons Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt. Lamar was raised in Dallas, Texas. He attended Culver Military Academy and graduated from The Hill School in Pennsylvania in 1951 and Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1956, with a B.S. degree in geology. Hunt was a college football player who rode the bench but was still an avid sports enthusiast during his time in college and throughout his entire childhood. While attending SMU in 1952, Hunt joined the Kappa Sigma fraternity. In 1972, he was selected as Kappa Sigma's Man of the Year.[1]

Founding of the American Football League

On the strength of his great inherited oil wealth, Hunt applied for a National Football League expansion franchise but was turned down. In 1959, professional football was a distant second to Major League Baseball in popularity, and the thinking among NFL executives was that the league must be careful not to "oversaturate" the market by expanding too quickly.[2] Hunt also attempted to purchase the NFL's Chicago Cardinals franchise in 1959 with the intent to move them to Dallas, but was again turned down.[3]

In response, Hunt approached several other businessmen who had also unsuccessfully sought NFL franchises, including fellow Texan and oil man K. S. "Bud" Adams of Houston, about forming a new football league, and the American Football League was established in August 1959.[4] The group of the eight founders of the AFL teams was referred to as the "Foolish Club." Hunt's goal was to bring professional football to Texas and to acquire an NFL team for the Hunt family. Hunt became owner of the Dallas Texans and hired future hall-of-famer Hank Stram as the team's first head coach.

Ownership and NFL merger

As a response to the newly formed league and the presence of an AFL franchise in Dallas, the NFL quickly placed a new franchise of their own in Dallas, the Dallas Cowboys. As a result, the Dallas Texans, despite being one of the more successful AFL teams in the league's early days, failed to draw fans in large numbers, as the Texans had to compete with the Dallas Cowboys for fans. In one popular, though probably apocryphal, story, a reporter informed Hunt's father that the Texans had lost $1 million in their first season. In response, H.L. Hunt supposedly said, "At that rate, he can only last another 100 years." Lamar himself later said that the numbers mentioned in the story were "overly flattering." In 1963 Hunt began to consider moving the team. Kansas City became one of the contending cities for the franchise. In order to convince Hunt to move the team to Kansas City, mayor H. Roe Bartle promised Hunt home attendance of 25,000 people per game. Hunt finally agreed to move the team to Kansas City, and in 1963 the Dallas Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs.

In the Chiefs' first two seasons attendance did not match the levels Mayor Bartle had promised, but in 1966 average home attendance at Chiefs games increased and reached 37,000. By 1969 Chiefs' average home attendance had reached 51,000. In 1966 the Chiefs won their first AFL Championship (after having previously won it as the Dallas Texans) and reached the first ever Super Bowl, which the Chiefs lost to the Green Bay Packers. The Chiefs remained successful through the 1960s, and in 1970 the Chiefs won the AFL Championship and Super Bowl IV (the last Super Bowl played when the AFL was a separate league prior to it being absorbed into the NFL as the American Football Conference) over the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings.

Hunt insisted that he be listed in the team media guide as the founder of the Chiefs rather than the owner. He publicly listed his telephone number in the phone book until his death.[5]

Coinage of the term "Super Bowl"

In 1966, the NFL and AFL agreed to merge, with a championship game between the two leagues to be played after that season. In a July 25, 1966, letter to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, Hunt wrote, "I have kiddingly called it the 'Super Bowl,' which obviously can be improved upon." Hunt would later say the name was likely in his head because his children had been playing with a Super Ball toy. Although the leagues' owners decided on the name "AFL-NFL Championship Game", the media immediately picked up on Hunt's "Super Bowl" name, which would become official beginning with the third annual game, which was won by the AFL's New York Jets over the NFL's Baltimore Colts.[6]

The NASL: ownership and battles with the NFL

In 1967 Hunt helped promote professional soccer in the United States. Hunt's interest in soccer began in 1962 when he accompanied his future wife, Norma, to a Shamrock Rovers game in Dublin, Ireland.[7] In 1966, he viewed the FIFA World Cup in England, and then attended nine of the next 11 World Cup tournaments.

In 1967, Hunt founded the Dallas Tornado as members of the United Soccer Association. In 1968 the league merged with the National Professional Soccer League to form the North American Soccer League. Hunt was an active advocate for the sport and the league and the Dallas Tornado won the NASL championship in 1971 and were runners-up 1973.

The NFL owners were not happy with Hunt's ownership in and promotion of pro soccer. The NFL attempted to force legal requirements that would disallow team ownership in more than one sport for owners of NFL franchises. This strategy backfired on the NFL, and the NASL won an anti-trust case against the NFL. A primary benefactor of this outcome was Lamar Hunt.[8]

In 1981, after 15 seasons and losses in the millions, Hunt and his Dallas Tornado partner Bill McNutt decided to merge their team with the Tampa Bay Rowdies franchise, while retaining a minority stake in the Florida club. Two years later, along with Rowdies principal George Strawbrige, they sold the Rowdies to local investors. The move effectively ended Hunt's ties to the NASL a year before the league itself finally collapsed.[9][10]

Major League Soccer

Hunt returned to soccer as one of the original founding investors of Major League Soccer, which debuted in 1996. He originally owned two teams: the Columbus Crew and the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City). In 1999, Hunt financed the construction of the venue now known as Mapfre Stadium, the second, and first since 1913, of several large soccer-specific stadiums in the USA. In 2003, Hunt purchased a third team, the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas), after announcing that he would partially finance the construction of their own soccer-specific stadium. On August 31, 2006, Hunt sold the Wizards to a six-man ownership group led by Cerner Corporation co-founders Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig.

Other sports

Basketball

Hunt was one of the founding investors of the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association. He remained a minority owner until his death.

Tennis

In 1968, Hunt co-founded the World Championship Tennis circuit, which gave birth to the Open Era of tennis. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993.[11]

Hockey

Hunt and John H. McConnell formed Columbus Hockey Limited, L.L.C. (CHL) in an effort to obtain a National Hockey League franchise for Columbus, Ohio. Following disagreements over the financing for an arena, McConnell accepted an offer to lease a new arena from Nationwide Insurance Enterprise. McConnell froze out CHL and Hunt and was awarded the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets franchise. See McConnell v. Hunt Sports Enterprises, 132 Ohio App.3d 657, 725 N.E.2d 1193 (1999), a lawsuit that Lamar Hunt lost and granted McConnell sole ownership of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Business ventures outside sports

Amusement parks and caves

Hunt was the founder of two theme parks in Kansas City: Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, which opened in 1973 and 1982 respectively. The two parks were an outgrowth and adjoined a vast industrial park he developed in the bluffs above the Missouri River in Clay County, Missouri.

Immediately south of the Hunt-founded parks is the Hunt-developed SubTropolis, a 55,000,000 square foot (5,060,000 m2), 1,100-acre (4.5 km2) manmade limestone cave which is claimed to be the World's Largest Underground Business Complex (TM). Hunt's extensive business dealings in Clay County were to contribute to the Chiefs having their NFL Training Camp at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri until 1991.

Silver speculation

During the 1970s and early 1980s, Hunt and his brothers Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt attempted to corner the silver market. They began buying silver in the early 1970s. By the end of 1979 their ownership of one-third of the silver market caused the price to rise from $11 an ounce in September 1979 to $50 an ounce in January 1980. In the last nine months of 1979, the brothers profited by an estimated $2 billion to $4 billion. However, on March 27, 1980, subsequently referred to within the precious-metals industry as Silver Thursday, the price collapsed. In September 1988, the Hunt brothers filed for bankruptcy under United States Bankruptcy Code Chapter 11.

Personal life

Lamar Hunt had two brothers, Nelson Bunker and William Herbert. His half-sister Swanee Hunt was Ambassador to Austria. He was married twice. His first marriage to Rosemary Carr, ended in a divorce. He had two children from his first marriage. He remarried later to Norma Lynn Knobel, who he was married to until his death. He had three sons, Clark, Lamar Jr., and Daniel, as well as one daughter, Sharron Hunt.[12]

Death and succession

Lamar Hunt died December 13, 2006, at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas of complications related to prostate cancer. Upon his death, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called Hunt "a founder of the NFL as we know it today," adding "He's been an inspiration for me."[13] Said Dan Rooney, chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers: "Lamar Hunt was one of the most influential owners in professional football over the past 40-plus years, He was instrumental in the formation of the American Football League and in the AFL-NFL merger, which helped the National Football League grow into America's passion." The Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, Kay Waldo Barnes, requested that all city flags fly at half-staff the following Thursday and Friday after Hunt's death.

Upon Hunt's death, his son Clark was named chairman of the Kansas City Chiefs and FC Dallas, having been elected by Hunt's other children, Lamar Hunt Jr., Sharron Munson, and Daniel Hunt. Though Hunt's wife and children share legal ownership of the Chiefs, Clark represents the team at all league owner meetings and handles the day-to-day responsibilities of the team.

Honors

Hall of Fame inductions

  • In 1972, Hunt became the first person associated with the American Football League inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • In 1984, Hunt was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
  • For his efforts in building the sport of soccer in the United States in the modern era, Hunt was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1992 and was in 1999 awarded its Medal of Honor in 1999, so far given out only 3 times in the Hall's history.
  • On February 20, 2008, Hunt was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians in the Missouri state Capitol.
  • On August 1, 2014, Hunt was inducted into Sporting Kansas City's "Sporting Legends" hall of fame.

Competition and trophy namings

Statuary

  • On July 30, 2010, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Hunt's children dedicated a bronze statue in his memory at Arrowhead Stadium.
  • On August 5, 2010 Hunt was recognized by F.C. Dallas with a statue in his memory at Pizza Hut Park (now "Toyota Stadium")
  • On August 28, 2010 Hunt was recognized by the Columbus Crew with a statue in his memory at Columbus Crew Stadium. The nearly 10-foot (3.0 m)-high statue is the same design as those at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, where the Hunts own the Kansas City Chiefs franchise, and at FC Dallas's home, Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. The 4-foot base is different on each, with inscriptions suited to the location.

Recognition on team uniforms and accessories

  • From the Kansas City Chiefs' December 17, 2006, game against the San Diego Chargers through the end of the 2006-2007 NFL season, the Chiefs wore an emblem with the initials "LH" on the back of their helmets.
  • In 2007, the Chiefs wore a patch featuring the American Football League logo that also had Hunt's initials on it. The following season, the patch was made a permanent part of the Chiefs uniform.
  • For the 2007 season, Major League Soccer players wore a small patch on their arm with the initials LH as a memorial to Hunt and his contribution to soccer in the United States. Hunt Sports Group teams the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas continue to wear these patches in his honor, with FC Dallas also wearing the LH emblem on the back of their jerseys. In addition, many Crew and Dallas fan accessories such as scarves and banners now feature the LH emblem.
  • After the Columbus Crew won the MLS Cup championship in 2008, the "LH" emblem was inscribed on the inside of the team's championship rings.

Recognition by secondary schools

Other commemorations

See also

References

  1. ^ "Kappa Sigma Mourns Loss of Brother Lamar Hunt, Sports Industry Legend" (PDF). The Caduceus of Kappa Sigma (Winter 2006–2007): 22. November 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 7, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  2. ^ Townsend, Brad (December 13, 2006). "Hunt remembered for energy, integrity". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
  3. ^ Drobnicki, John A. (2010). Hunt, Lamar. The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives. VIII: 2006–2008. Scribner's. p. 228..
  4. ^ Drobnicki, pp. 228-229
  5. ^ Drobnicki, p. 230
  6. ^ MacCambridge, Michael. America's Game. New York: Random House, 2004, p. 237.
  7. ^ "Hunt a quiet pioneer of U.S. soccer – ESPN FC". soccernet.espn.go.com. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  8. ^ Dell'apa, Frank (December 13, 2006). "Hunt a quiet pioneer of U.S. soccer". ESPN. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
  9. ^ MacCambridge, Michael (2012). Lamar Hunt: A Life in Sports. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 262. ISBN 9781449423391. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  10. ^ Miranda, Randy (September 14, 1983). "Rowdies sold to Bay area investors". The Ledger. Lakeland, Florida: news.google.com. Retrieved December 12, 2014 – via Google News Archive Search.
  11. ^ "Hunt to Enter Another Hall". The New York Times. July 10, 1993. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  12. ^ "Lamar Hunt, a Force in Football, Dies at 74". NYTimes.com.
  13. ^ Simnacher, Joe; Townsend, Brad (December 13, 2006). "Sports innovator Lamar Hunt dies". WFAA. Archived from the original on December 29, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2006.

External links

1997 U.S. Open Cup

The 1997 U.S. Open Cup ran from June through October, 1997, open to all soccer teams in the United States.

Major League Soccer club Dallas Burn prevailed over defending-champion D.C. United, winning 5-3 on penalty kicks after battling to a scoreless draw through extra time. The match was played at Carroll Stadium at IUPUI, Indianapolis, Indiana.

1998 U.S. Open Cup

The 1998 U.S. Open Cup ran from June through October, 1998, open to all soccer teams in the United States.

The first-year Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire won the Cup with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Columbus Crew at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

In the early rounds of the tournament, only one MLS team lost to a minor-league side, when the A-League's Nashville Metros beat the Kansas City Wizards 3-1.

2007 U.S. Open Cup

The 2007 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was the 94th edition of the USSF's annual national soccer championship, running from June through early October.

The New England Revolution defeated FC Dallas 3–2 in the final played at Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas.

Pairings for the competition were announced on Tuesday, May 29, 2007. The 2007 tournament was the first since 2002 to not include all Major League Soccer teams. Instead, MLS had eight teams in the tournament; six qualified automatically, while the remaining six US-based sides participated in a playoff for the final two positions. In another change for the tournament, all nine US-based USL First Division teams entered into the Cup. The Puerto Rico Islanders are not eligible for the tournament, as Puerto Rico has a soccer federation independent from US Soccer.

2007 U.S. Open Cup qualification

This page describes the qualification procedure for the 2007 U.S. Open Cup.

2008 U.S. Open Cup qualification

This page describes the qualification procedure for the 2008 U.S. Open Cup. This will be the first season where 8 teams from each level of the American Soccer Pyramid will compete in the tournament proper. As a result, each level will trim its ranks to its 8 team delegation before entering the full tournament.

2009 U.S. Open Cup

The 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was the 96th edition of the USSF's annual national soccer championship, running from June through early September.

The tournament proper features teams from the top five levels of the American Soccer Pyramid. These five levels, namely Major League Soccer, the United Soccer Leagues (First Division, Second Division, and Premier Development League), and the United States Adult Soccer Association, each have their own separate qualification process to trim their ranks down to their final eight team delegations in the months leading up to the start of the tournament proper. The eight MLS clubs receive byes into the third round, while the remaining 32 teams play in the first two round with brackets influenced by geography.

Seattle Sounders FC defeated defending-champion D.C. United 2-1 in the final at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Both clubs had started in the MLS qualification tourney, and ended up playing 6 matches each.

2009 U.S. Open Cup Final

The 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final was played on September 2, 2009, at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in Washington, D.C. The match determined the winner of the 2009 U.S. Open Cup, a tournament open to amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation. This was the 96th edition of the oldest competition in United States soccer. The match was won by Seattle Sounders FC, who defeated D.C. United 2–1. Clyde Simms scored D.C. United's only goal. Fredy Montero and Roger Levesque scored Seattle's two goals as the club became the second expansion team in Major League Soccer (MLS) history to win the tournament in their inaugural season.

D.C. United entered the tournament as the competition's defending champions. They had previously won the tournament in 1996 as well. Both Sounders FC and D.C. United had to play through two qualification rounds for MLS teams before entering the official tournament. Prior to the final, there was a public dispute between the owners of the two clubs regarding the selection of D.C. United to host it at their home field, RFK Stadium.

As the tournament champions, Sounders FC earned a berth in the preliminary round of the 2010–11 CONCACAF Champions League. The club also received a $100,000 cash prize, while D.C. United received $50,000 as the runner-up.

2011 U.S. Open Cup

The 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was the 98th edition of the USSF's annual national soccer championship, running from June through early October. Seattle Sounders FC, who entered the competition as the two-time defending champions, successfully defended their title again. They became the third team in U.S. Open Cup history to win three straight U.S. Open Cups (the others being Stix, Baer and Fuller/St. Louis Central Breweries from 1933 to 1935 and Greek American AA from 1967 to 1969 — this excludes the run of Fall River Marksmen in 1930 and 1931, as the team that won in 1932, New Bedford Whalers, was the result of mergers of teams that included Fall River). As winner of the Open Cup, the Sounders earned a place in the 2012–13 CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage (the Preliminary Round will be eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League starting from 2012–13). The farthest advancing USL Pro team was the Richmond Kickers.

Like the previous edition, the Open Cup featured 40 clubs from across the five tiers of the American soccer pyramid. This season, due to late provisional sanctioning, the North American Soccer League was not allowed to send its clubs to the tournament. The event featured eight clubs from Major League Soccer, with six automatically qualifying based on their league position in the 2010 season and two qualifying through a play-in tournament. They entered the tournament in the third round. All 11 USL Pro League clubs based in the United States, nine clubs from the USL Premier Development League, four clubs from the National Premier Soccer League, and eight United States Adult Soccer Association qualifiers began play in the first round.

2011 U.S. Open Cup qualification

The 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament proper features teams from four of the five tiers of the American Soccer Pyramid. These four levels—Major League Soccer, United Soccer League's Pro League, the USL's Premier Development League, the National Premier Soccer League, and the United States Adult Soccer Association— each have their own separate qualification process to trim their ranks down to their final club delegations in the months leading up to the start of the tournament proper.

The event will feature 40 teams. Eight clubs from Major League Soccer will participate, six that automatically qualify based on last season's league position and two that qualify through a play-in tournament. In addition, 11 USL Pro League clubs, 9 clubs from the USL Premier Development League, 4 clubs from the National Premier Soccer League, and 8 USASA clubs and will also qualify.The provisional second tier of the soccer pyramid, a reincarnation of the North American Soccer League, was disallowed by the United States Soccer Federation for the American-based clubs to participate into the tournament, mainly due to scheduling conflicts it would cause.

2012 U.S. Open Cup Final

The 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final was played on August 8, 2012 at Livestrong Sporting Park, now known as Children's Mercy Park, in Kansas City, Kansas. The match was the culmination of the 2012 U.S. Open Cup, a tournament open to amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation. This was the 99th edition of the oldest ongoing competition in American soccer. Sporting Kansas City won their second U.S. Open Cup title, their first since 2004, by defeating Seattle Sounders FC, 3–2 in a penalty shootout following a 1–1 draw through extra time.

The Seattle Sounders FC were in their fourth-consecutive U.S. Open Cup Final, a feat that had not been accomplished since 1937. Seattle won the cup in its previous three appearances and was attempting to win a fourth consecutive championship.As Open Cup champions, Kansas City earned a $100,000 cash prize and a berth into the 2013–14 CONCACAF Champions League, marking the club's first Champions League-era appearance in the tournament, and their third overall appearance in a CONCACAF competition.

2012 U.S. Open Cup qualification

The 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament proper features teams from all five tiers of men's soccer of the American Soccer Pyramid.

For the 2012 tournament, all American-based teams from the top two tiers, Major League Soccer and the North American Soccer League, will earns berths into the third and second round propers of the tournament, respectively. Thus making it the first time in six years that all first and second division teams automatically qualify into the tournament.

For the third, fourth and fifth tiers of the pyramid, a series of qualification and state tournaments are held to determine the berths into the tournament. Most states began their qualification in October or November 2011 and will conclude in March 2012. These teams, will complete the 64 team field in the U.S. Open Cup.

2013 U.S. Open Cup qualification

The 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament proper features teams from all five tiers of men's soccer of the American soccer pyramid.

For the 2013 tournament, all American-based teams from the top two tiers, Major League Soccer and the North American Soccer League, will earns berths into the third and second round propers of the tournament, respectively.

For the third, fourth and fifth tiers of the pyramid, a series of qualification and state tournaments are held to determine the berths into the tournament. Most states began their qualification in October or November 2012 and will conclude in March 2013. These teams will complete the 64-team field in the U.S. Open Cup.

2015 U.S. Open Cup Final

The 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final was played on September 30, 2015, at PPL Park, now known as Talen Energy Stadium, in Chester, Pennsylvania. The match determined the winner of the 2015 U.S. Open Cup, a tournament open to amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation. It was the 102nd edition of the oldest competition in United States soccer. This edition of the final was contested between Sporting Kansas City (SKC) and the Philadelphia Union. The winning club would qualify for the 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League.

Philadelphia and Kansas City both compete in the top tier of American soccer, Major League Soccer (MLS), and bypassed the initial stages of the tournament with entries into the fourth round of play. At the time of the final, SKC was in contention for the Supporters' Shield while the Union was in the hunt for a berth in the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs. Philadelphia secured its berth in the final by defeating the Rochester Rhinos, D.C. United, the New York Red Bulls, and Chicago Fire. Kansas City's road to the final involved victories over Saint Louis FC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, and Real Salt Lake.

The match was broadcast in English on ESPN2 and in Spanish on Univision Deportes Network, making it the first time since 1999 the cup final was aired on one of the ESPN networks. Sporting Kansas City won the game 7–6 on penalties after the game ended 1–1 in regulation and in overtime.

2015 U.S. Open Cup qualification

The 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament proper will feature teams from all five tiers of men's soccer of the American Soccer Pyramid.

All teams from the first three levels qualify. For the fourth and fifth tiers of the pyramid, a series of qualification and state tournaments are held to determine the berths into the tournament. These teams will complete the 91-team field in the U.S. Open Cup.

2017 U.S. Open Cup Final

The 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final was played on September 20, 2017, at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The match determined the winner of the 2017 U.S. Open Cup, a tournament open to amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation. It was the 104th edition of the oldest competition in United States soccer. This edition of the final was contested between Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls, both of Major League Soccer.

Kansas City and New York both play in the top tier of American soccer, Major League Soccer (MLS), and bypassed the initial stages of the tournament, with direct entry into the fourth round of play. Kansas City secured its berth in the final by defeating four other MLS teams; Minnesota United FC, Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas, and San Jose Earthquakes. New York's road to the final involved victories over three MLS teams and one USL team; New York City FC, Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution and FC Cincinnati.Kansas City won their fourth title following a 2–1 win thanks to goals from Latif Blessing and Dániel Sallói. As winners, Kansas City qualified for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League.

The match was broadcast in English on ESPN2 and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, making it the third straight time the cup final was aired on one of the ESPN networks.

2017 U.S. Open Cup qualification

The 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament proper will feature teams from all five tiers of men's soccer of the American Soccer Pyramid. A record 64 amateur teams have entered qualifying this year.

As with the 2016 tournament, US Soccer now oversees the qualifying process that used to be handled by each association. According to US Soccer, all teams within the Division I & II professional leagues will qualify automatically as in past years. Any Open Division national league can apply to use previous year's league standings as their qualification method. Remaining Open Division teams will participate in up to five qualifying rounds to determine entrants into the tournament proper. Final slot allocation will be determined when team registration has concluded.

AFC Championship Game

The AFC Championship Game is the annual championship game of the American Football Conference (AFC) and one of the two semi-final playoff games of the National Football League (NFL), the largest professional American football league in the United States. The game is played on the penultimate Sunday in January by the two remaining playoff teams, following the AFC postseason's first two rounds. The AFC champion then advances to face the winner of the National Football Conference (NFC) Championship Game in the Super Bowl.

The game was established as part of the 1970 merger between the NFL and the American Football League (AFL), with the merged league realigning into two conferences. Since 1984, each winner of the AFC Championship Game has also received the Lamar Hunt Trophy, named after the founder of the AFL and the founder of the Kansas City Chiefs, Lamar Hunt.

Charleston Battery

The Charleston Battery is an American professional soccer club based in Charleston, South Carolina and member of the USL Championship. Founded in 1993, the Battery is one of the oldest continuously operating professional soccer clubs in the United States, tied with the Richmond Kickers.

Charleston is one of the more successful lower division soccer clubs in the United States, having won the USISL Pro League in 1996, the USL A-League in 2003, and the final season of the USL Second Division in 2010. In 2012, the team won the USL Pro Championship, winning its fourth league title in club history. Charleston is also the most successful club in the history of the unofficial Southern Derby competition with eight first-place finishes.

The club has played its home games at the soccer-specific MUSC Health Stadium in the Daniel Island section of Charleston since 1999. The team's colors are black and yellow, with a traditional red scheme for away uniforms. Since 2005, their head coach and general manager has been Mike Anhaeuser.

U.S. Open Cup

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, commonly known as the U.S. Open Cup (USOC), is a knock-out cup competition in American soccer. It is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. The 105th edition, held in 2018, was contested by 97 clubs from the two professional leagues sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation: Major League Soccer (MLS), and the United Soccer League (USL; since renamed the USL Championship), and also amateur clubs in the earlier rounds of the tournament after qualifying through their leagues. The overall champion earns a total of $300,000 in prize money, while the runner-up receives $100,000, and the furthest-advancing team from each lower division league receives $25,000. In addition, the tournament winner qualifies for the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League.The competition was first held during the 1913–14 season as the National Challenge Cup, with Brooklyn Field Club winning a trophy donated by Thomas Dewar for the promotion of American soccer. It was renamed and then dedicated to MLS owner Lamar Hunt by the United States Soccer Federation in 1999.

Major League Soccer teams have dominated the competition since MLS began play in 1996. No lower division team has won the U.S. Open Cup since the Rochester Rhinos in 1999 or reached the U.S. Open Cup final since the Charleston Battery in 2008. The most recent champions of the competition, Houston Dynamo, won their first title after defeating the Philadelphia Union 3–0 in the 2018 final.

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