International Champions Cup Looks to Capitalize on World Cup Hangover in U.S.
Thursday will mark the start of the International Champions Cup, a new competition in the U.S. featuring some of the biggest teams from across the pond. The competition will take place in 13 different cities in what parent company Relevant Sports calls “an innovative transformation of the traditional European club preseason tours into a competitive tournament.” For many involved, the hope is that World Cup fever will spill over into great attendance and more exposure for the European clubs.
The eight teams will be put into two groups. Each team will play three games in a round robin format with the two group leaders meeting in Miami on Aug. 4. Last year’s inaugarul edition was taken by Real Madrid who will defend their title this year. Along with Real Madrid, there are plenty of other big name clubs looking to get their merchandise on new and old soccer fans with the greater goal of brand exposure as the common denominator.
The US is a good place to train at this time of year, but there are plenty of other places to go. The teams looking to cash in on the US soccer landscape after a World Cup also include AC Milan, Olympiakos, Manchester United, Inter Milan, AS Roma, Liverpool and Manchester City. The games will be in large stadiums across the nation making it hard to sell out the match. Only the match in Ann Arbor, MI is sold out. The match being held at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh was actually a featured Groupon deal last week.
The competition is also earning television rights money as Fox is set to broadcasting 11 matches with the remaining two on NBC Sports. A betting man would put money on the opening match between AC Milan and Olympiakos having the lowest TV views. The names of the clubs alone should bring an audience, especially for the clubs in the EPL.
The competition may lose revenue with the rosters missing some of the big names, although each team will bring some marquee players. Roma will have a good squad including Francesco Totti and Miralem Pjanic, but could be the team known as Michael Bradley‘s former employers. Manchester United had to revise their roster, which only included Javier Hernandez after the revision. Steven Gerrard is on the Liverpool roster. Yaya Toure has been announced on the Manchester City squad, but it is unclear if he will play.
None of this will matter if the casual US fan has already tuned out after the World Cup. Relevant Sports hopes to have enough big name clubs in the right markets to latch on to the longing for soccer. Only time will tell.
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