OL Reign’s Bethany Balser: NWSL is making ‘the same mistakes’ with 2023 Challenge Cup schedule

OL Reign forward Bethany Balser expressed her frustration with the 2023 NWSL Challenge Cup setup ahead of Wednesday night’s semifinal game against Racing Louisville. Here’s what you need to know:

  • In an Instagram story Wednesday afternoon, Balsir blasted the league for “making the same mistakes” with regard to scheduling and timeslots for national broadcasts that he had made in previous years.
  • OL Reign is the year’s No. 1 seed and hosts Louisville at 10 p.m. ET. If they advance to Sunday’s Final, Balser says the team won’t be able to host the game in Seattle because it’s locked into the 12:30 ET timeslot on CBS.
  • “Fuck CBS and put that game on YouTube for all I care,” Balser said in the post. “No wonder we struggle to get the viewership and views we want…because what the league gives us is-.”
  • “Higher rankings will be given first priority to host all play-off matches, pending stadium availability,” says the league’s official website.

What he said secretly

“It amazes me that we have had the Challenge Cup for 3 years and we are still making the same mistakes,” Balsir said in a post. “Last year, we got the number one seed, but we couldn’t host the semi-finals because of field scheduling conflicts that the league wouldn’t let us overcome. This year we got the number one seed (again), and we actually got to host the semi-finals (great progress) ), but if we win we won’t be able to host the final because the game has to be at 9am because our CBS deal doesn’t say that. It doesn’t give us any other time slot. Again, our reward for being the top seed is having to travel across the country to play With a team that we have to play at home in a 3-game week where we have the least amount of time to change from Sunday to Wednesday to Saturday.

“Fuck CBS and putting that game on YouTube is all I care about. No wonder we struggle to get the exposure and views we want… because what the league gives us is the S—. That happened with the NFL Finals.” Two years ago, because CBS gave us a hard time. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results… Well, our league seems pretty crazy to me. It’s 7pm local time for who’s the top seed If it’s too difficult, you’re not in the right job and you’re not interested in the development of women’s football.

Dramatic story

The NWSL Challenge Cup is an annual tournament first introduced in 2020. This year’s edition is the first to be held in conjunction with the NWSL regular season and features a total prize pool of $1 million. The group stage started on 19 April with three divisions of four teams each. The top three teams in each division, plus the higher-ranked second-ranked team, advance to the semifinals: No. 1 seed OL Reign, No. 2 seed Kansas City Current, No. 3 seed North Carolina Courage and No. 4 seed Racing Louisville FC.

The league is expected to cancel the tournament in 2024, according to a report by The Equalizer last month.

The 2023 Challenge Cup semi-finals and final are taking place in the middle of the NFL season – there are four games left before the playoffs. Only three points separate the top five teams, and clubs that no longer participate in the tournament during the season will have two weeks without a match.

Sir, 26, will miss Wednesday’s game due to a leg injury, along with teammate Rose Lavelle. Balcer, who has played for All-Rennes since 2019, has scored five goals and one assist in 18 appearances this season.

OL Reign reached the semi-finals of the NWSL Challenge Cup last year as the #1 seed but fell to the #4 seed Washington Spirit in a penalty shootout at Audi Stadium.

(Photo: Steve Chambers/Getty Images)

(tags for translation) OL Reign

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