Florida Cup 2015: Match Day in Orlando!

Welcome to the opening match day of the inaugural Florida Cup!

Tonight, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Bayer Leverkusen and Fluminense will get the ball rolling at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, in what organizers believe will become an annual event, with the potential for expansion to include more teams and more nations in future editions.

1. FC Köln and Corinthians will be the nightcap of the doubleheader, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Florida Cup is being staged in an innovative fashion to insert competition into what are otherwise off-season friendly matches. There are, all told, three prizes at stake over the course of the two match days.

The primary contest is the one between Brazil and Germany. The two clubs from each nation will fight to compile as many points as possible as a team to determine which will be declared the victor of the Florida Cup. Either Germany or Brazil will be the first to have a ribbon attached to the trophy that will remain in Florida.

But, just so none of the Rhine rivals bristle too entirely about the idea of Bayer and the Effzeh getting too friendly while here in Florida, there will only be one Florida Cup club trophy taking  flight to either Europe or South America after Saturday’s matches conclude.

A Florida Cup for the trophy case will be awarded to the club from the conquering nation that compiles the most points, with a tie being broken based on goal differential. If the differential is not enough, then it goes to goals scored.

If that still does not yield a winner, I have to assume there is a plan for that, but nobody actually asked at the press conference yesterday, including myself.

The 2015 Florida Cup

Sidebar: I probably could have stolen a cleaner image of either trophy from one of the many outlets which were able to send professional photographers (i.e. people who know what they’re doing) with cameras armed with amazingly huge lenses (i.e. cameras for people who know what they’re doing), but since I did take photos (albeit, these with my mobile phone . . . like a dope), this is what you get here. 

A third piece of glory will be awarded to the player deemed the “Most Valuable Player” of the tournament: a Mickey Mouse trophy.

And I do not mean “Mickey Mouse trophy” figuratively. It is LITERALLY a Mickey Mouse trophy.

Emm – Eye – See . . . SEE? I told you!

If you can make it to ESPN’s Orlando complex for the matches tonight, a limited number of tickets remain available at $35 for a single match or $55 for the doubleheader. For the Saturday matches at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field, there are no single-match tickets, but prices for the doubleheader start at $30. Corinthians-Leverkusen is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday, with Fluminense-Köln to follow at 3:30.

Should you find yourself geographically located somewhere it is unreasonable to attend either session, the Florida Cup will be televised in 125 countries, reaching more than 215 million households.

I think most media outlets would insert here to “check your local listings,” but we at the Bundesliga Fanatic are clearly not most media outlets.

Residents of the hosting nation have a few options available. ESPN Deportes, the US-based Spanish-language channel among the sports-broadcasting giant’s network, will be showing both matches live, with commentary en Español, making it an opportune time to celebrate the international flavor of the event, perhaps by enjoying the match from that Mexican restaurant near you that always seems to have soccer on the television. You may even find yourself among some Hispanic fans of German football!

If you simply MUST have English commentary, utilize your cable password to watch the action online at Watch ESPN (formerly ESPN3). If you don’t have a password, surely you have a friend who does and whom you’ve been meaning to visit . . . twice in three days. Be a good surprise guest; take beer.

ESPN is also the primary outlet for Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, Oceana, and South America, so if you’re in one of those area . . . check your local listings? Brazil will be the primary exception to South American coverage though, with over-the-air channel TV Globo Sport V carrying the matches to the home nation of that half of the participating clubs.

Middle East? North Africa? France? You get yours on beIn Sports. If you’re elsewhere in Africa, it would appear you’re dependent on Star Times. If you are in Africa and get neither of those stations, I’m afraid you’ll need to be creative to watch the matches.

Shifting to Europe (excepting France, of course), Sport 1 will have the matches for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourgh, and Lichtenstein (hey, we’ve had hits from all those places!) though I’d assume people watching the matches on Sport 1 are among the least likely in the world to be finding such information here. Na ja . . .

BT Sports will carry the Florida Cup in the United Kingdom.

Otherwise . . . NTV Spor (Turkey), DTS/Canal+ (Spain), NTV Plus (Russia & CIS), Sport TV (Portugal), Melita (Malta), and Charlton (Israel) will all have the matches available.

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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.

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