Summer of Soccer: Scheduling 'error' creates pile-up -- three finals on same day

With Tuesday's announcement that ESPN+ will carry the 2019 Copa America, we now know the viewing options for the three summer tournaments:

Women's World Cup (schedule): English-language: Fox, FS1, FS2; Spanish-language: Telemundo, Universo, Telemundo Deportes.
Gold Cup (schedule): English-language: FS1, FS2; Spanish-language: Univision, UniMas, UDN.
Copa America (schedule): English-language: ESPN+; Spanish-language: Telemundo, Universo.

For some time now, though, we've known that all three tournaments will for the first time be played simultaneously, culminating on July 7 when all three finals will be played the same day.

Since 2003, the Women's World Cup, Gold Cup and Copa America have been played in the same year every four years but until recently they rarely overlapped. The Women's World Cup in 2003 and 2007 was played in the fall and the 2011 tournament finished in the middle of July.

In 2015, the Women's World Cup played in Canada was played in the same June-July window it will be played this year, ending on the first Sunday in July. The 2015 Copa America in Chile was played simultaneously but finished on Saturday, a day earlier. There was no conflict with the 2015 Gold Cup because it didn't start until July 7, two days after the Women's World Cup ended.

Starting in the middle of the summer has posed problems for Gold Cup teams like the USA and Mexico that relied heavily European-based players who had just returned to preseason training and struggled with their fitness, and the tournament was rescheduled this year for June 15-July 7 after being played entirely in July the last three tournaments (2013, 2015 and 2017).

The 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany was played June 26-July 17, but any idea of also playing the 2019 Women's World Cup in July is believed to have been rejected by French organizers because it would have conflicted with France's major summer sporting event, the Tour de France, which runs 23 days (July 6-28).

It's understandable that all three soccer tournaments would to be played when they are -- though the exception is the Africa Cup of Nations, which will be played June 21-July 19 after always being held in the winter -- but it's a head-scratcher why FIFA, which has final say over the calendaring of confederation events, would allow all three finals to be played on the same day, July 7:

Women's World Cup: 11 a.m. ET in Lyon suburb Decines-Charpieu.
Copa America: 4 p.m. ET in Rio de Janeiro.
Gold Cup: 9 p.m. ET in Chicago

"It was simply an error," Concacaf president Victor Montagliani, a vice president on the FIFA Council, told SI.com's Planet Fútbol TV.

Sharing the spotlight and attendant media coverage on the same day does not sit well with U.S. co-captain Megan Rapinoe and major women's soccer supporters.

''It's ridiculous and disappointing, to be honest,'' Rapinoe said.

9 comments about "Summer of Soccer: Scheduling 'error' creates pile-up -- three finals on same day".
  1. John Soares, May 29, 2019 at 10:05 a.m.

    Rapinoe was too polite.

  2. Martin Thalmann, May 29, 2019 at 10:38 a.m.

    I don't think it's such a big deal.  Look at the difference in times.  They probably intentioneally planned it to make the July 7th a day of soccer with all 3 finals almost running back-to-back-to-back.  

  3. stewart hayes, May 29, 2019 at 10:46 a.m.

    They are all at different times and the women play first.  So all things considered ratings will suffer but someone who wants to see all three games won't miss a thing.  

  4. John Hofmann, May 29, 2019 at 1:40 p.m.

    Wow, I'm not sure I understand what seems to be a tempest in a teapot.  The three games are well-spaced time-wise.  I would be able to record all three if I wish.  I will be able to watch all three if I wish.  If the U.S. does well in the WWC, our country well no doubt be glued watching the final, including a lots of girls.  If they choose, they can watch later in the day, as can soccer nuts who no doubt will watch all three.

    The anly things that will "suffer" greatly, it appears to me, would be people who planned on actually attending all three finals (how many of those are there?) or media people who may be stretched a bit thin - the once every event (and not much in-between) coverage of soccer in the U.S. may suffer a bit, but someone depending only on written coverage for soccer in this country can't be especially interested anyway.

  5. Bob Ashpole, May 29, 2019 at 4:22 p.m.

    Each of the tournments represents huge investments and potential profits. Different people in competition for soccer fans. 

    I smell predatory practices at work here. 

  6. Kelly Martin, May 29, 2019 at 4:44 p.m.

    Totally agree with Rapinoe!

  7. John Soares, May 29, 2019 at 7:14 p.m.

    What do you think the chances are this will happen with the men's WC final!?

  8. E Velazquez, May 30, 2019 at 4:01 a.m.

    Vety doubtful that WNT will be in the final game. Thry arr too old and unskillful players that can’t run to match the younger teams. Too bad the femenine program has not developed younger true stars,  who is responsible for this failure ?

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, May 30, 2019 at 11:15 a.m.

    So you are saying that soccer success depends on running? 

    Carli Lloyd is the oldest at 36, and if you say she is too old and unskillful to "match" other teams, you haven't been paying attention.

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