One idea I had that MLS could enact to incentivize MLS teams to care about the US Open Cup is to pay out allocation money for wins. Suppose MLS gave each MLS team $250,000 is allocation money for each win. In that case a team could earn up to $1,000,000 in allocation money by winning four US Open Cup games. You win four games and you have won the US Open Cup, qualified for the CCL, and won $1M extra in salary cap space. Also, since a team could win two or three US Open Cup games before the summer transfer window, teams would not have to intentionally set aside money in order to be active in this window. Teams would simply have to win two games and then would get roughly 15% more salary cap space. Finally, this would be a fixed cost for MLS. The number of possible wins by an MLS team is known beforehand. 16 + 8 + 4 + 2 + 1. I believe that is a toal of 31 possible MLS wins for $7,750,000 in allocation money at $250,000 per win. Make this $100,000 per win and the cost comes down to $3,100,000. Edit: I guess this would have to start when there were 32 teams left, presumably 16 from MLS.