SBD/Issue 223/Events & Attractions

Int'l Soccer Exhibition Draws 70,000-Plus To Meadowlands

Last night's Real Madrid-AS Roma exhibition soccer match at Giants Stadium drew a crowd of 70,635, the largest soccer crowd at the Meadowlands since 78,416 attended a '96 doubleheader that included the Brazilian national team vs. the FIFA All-Stars and the MLS All-Star Game, according to Michael Lewis (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/9). But in N.Y., Jack Bell reports it was the facility's largest soccer crowd since the opening match of the '99 Women's World Cup, a doubleheader. Champions World CEO and former MetroStars GM Charlie Stillitano organized and promoted the game and tickets priced as high as $75 "were no deterrent for the clubs' loyal fans." Part of the proceeds from the match will be donated to United Nations programs "to combat AIDS and to the independent Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/9). NJ Gov. James McGreevey, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan were in attendance last night. In N.Y., Brian Lewis notes the NJ Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) "is embroiled in litigation with the MetroStars over whether the MLS club has met its obligation in promoting international soccer, and who should handle that duty at the Meadowlands." NJSEA CEO George Zoffinger said of the event: "My goal is to do five of these a year, make them high quality. If we do that it'll help [the MetroStars'] product and they haven't gotten that yet. It's unfortunate." Zoffinger added that he "plans to have Manchester United here next July 20" (N.Y. POST, 8/9).

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