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Campeones Cup Essentials: 7 things you should know about the competition

We get into the prize money, broadcast audience, history, and importance of the youngest soccer tournament in North America.

Looks good. | Courtesy Campeones Cup

1. The cup pits the MLS Cup winner against Liga MX’s Campeónam de Campeones

While New York City FC is the winner of the 2021 MLS Cup and undisputed title holder in MLS, it’s a little more complicated in Mexico, where the season is split between Apertura and Clausura segments. The winners of the Apertura and Clausura play in a single-game championship held at a neutral stadium in the United States for the Liga MX title, the Campeón de Campeones. Last year Atlas Guadalajara won both the Apertura and Clausura, and was automatically named Campeón de Campeones.

2. This is just the fourth edition of the Campeones Cup

The first competition was held in 2018, when Toronto FC lost 1 – 3 to UNAL. In 2019, Atlanta United beat Club América 3-2 in front of more than 40,000 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The 2020 matchup was scrubbed because of COVID (sorry, Seattle Sounders). Last year, Columbus Crew defeated Cruz Azul 2-0 at field.

Campeones Cup Tournament History

YearMLS Cup WinnerScoreLiga MX Campeón de CampeonesVenueAttendance
2018Toronto FC1 – 3 UNALBMO Field14,823
2019Atlanta United3 – 2Club AméricaMercedes Benz Stadium40,128
2020Seattle Sounders
2021Columbus Crew2 – 0 Cruz Field18,206
2022NYCFCAtlasYankee Soccer Stadium

3. The game is always hosted by the MLS team

So what if Yankee Soccer Stadium doesn’t meet CONCACAF standards? It’s good enough for the Campeones Cup, which means that the House that Ruth Built Giuliani Gave Away will see confetti canons and silverware this Wednesday.

4. The winner will get more than $340,000

That estimate comes courtesy of The Athletic, which couldn’t get Campeones Cup officials to confirm the true amount but were told that “the prize money would exceed” a previously reported figure of $340,000. It’s small change compared to what similar cups earn in Europe — the two teams contesting England’s Community Shield split a £1.25 million purse and each earn 15 percent of gate revenue. Still, the $340,000-plus award falls in line for tournaments in North America – it’s more than the estimated $300,000 you get for winning the MLS Cup, less than the $500,000 you get for winning the CONCACAF Champions League.

5. The 2021 game had a televised audience of about 1.25 million

Most of the viewership watched Spanish-language broadcasts on Univision (953,000 viewers), and TUDN (around 200,000 viewers). ESPN’s English-language broadcast accounted for an estimated 100,000 viewers.

6. The cup isn’t really a cup

The trophy has two open channels on one side, a little like a tulip with a stray petal. Take a look for yourself:

7. Does the Campeones Cup matter? 

That depends on you. If you think it does, then yes. Rory Smith explored this idea in an elegant piece he wrote for the New York Times about the importance of the Europa Conference League despite being new have having a terrible name. “Value is not an innate thing,” Smith wrote. It is applied when there is “a tacit agreement among players and coaches and executives and, particularly, among fans: We determine which tournaments matter.” Jose Mourinho determined that it mattered, and got a Europa Conference League tattoo. “The tournament is important because those involved have decreed it to be important,” wrote Smith.