SBD/July 13, 2011/Events and Attractions

MLS Looking To Increase Appeal Through World Football Challenge

MLS “hopes to increase its appeal” through its teams' participation in the Herbalife World Football Challenge, a collection of 13 games that kicks off tonight, according to Jack Bell of the N.Y. TIMES. Many of the matches “enable North American fans to see their local clubs … play some of the best in the world.” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, “A number of things have changed, beginning with the credibility of MLS. In the past, the superclubs came to the U.S. just to build their brands and expand their global footprints, and in many ways exploit their soccer opportunities in the U.S. Now that the league has become better connected to the world, the clubs are coming not only to build their brands, but they are contributing to building the sport in the U.S.” The "top teams in the tournament," including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona, will earn $1-2M a game. Clubs like Manchester City and Juventus “are due to receive up to” $1M, while the other international teams will “make $200,000 to $300,000 for each game.” CAA is “working with the marketing arm of Major League Soccer, Soccer United Marketing, to put on” the event. CAA’s Charlie Stillitano said, “It’s a combination of training and environment that is really second to none. The smarter clubs realize the facilities are excellent. Juventus looked at the Eagles’ facility and were blown away” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/12). All the matches in the World Football Challenge are listed below.

DATE
TEAMS VENUE
7/13
Manchester United-Revolution Gillette Stadium
7/16
Real Madrid-Galaxy L.A. Memorial Coliseum
7/16
Club America-Manchester City AT&T Park
7/18
Manchester City-Whitecaps Empire Field
7/20
CD Guadalajara-Real Madrid Qualcomm Stadium
7/23
Manchester United-Fire Soldier Field
7/23
Real Madrid-Union Lincoln Financial Field
7/23
Juventus-Sporting Club de Portugal BMO Field
7/24
Manchester City-Galaxy The Home Depot Center
7/26
Juventus-Club America Citi Field
7/28
Juventus-CD Guadalajara Carter-Finley Stadium
7/30
FC Barcelona-Manchester United FedExField
8/3
FC Barcelona-CD Guadalajara Sun Life Stadium
8/6
FC Barcelona-Club America Cowboys Stadium
   

CARMAGEDDON: In L.A., Nick Green noted the MLS Galaxy will “hold what is potentially one of the year's biggest local games” this weekend when Southern California transportation officials are “ominously warning of the potential for region-wide gridlock when 10 miles of the San Diego (405) Freeway shuts down Friday night for an unprecedented 53-hour closure.” Real Madrid plays the Galaxy as part of the World Football Challenge at the 93,000-seat Memorial Coliseum on Saturday “in a high-profile friendly that was scheduled before the freeway closure was announced.” The game “will send tens of thousands of soccer fans onto already clogged freeways.” Green noted as of Monday about 40,000 tickets have been sold and Galaxy officials are “hoping for a crowd in the 70,000-plus range despite the potential for traffic chaos.” Real Madrid also played in L.A. last year, and Galaxy President of Business Operations Tom Payne said, "We could be doing better (at the box office) and I do think the car scare has something to do with it. I do think them being here two years in a row has something to do with it.” Meanwhile, organizers said ticket sales are "lagging" for the July 20 CD Guadalajara-Real Madrid World Football Challenge match at Qualcomm Stadium (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 7/12).
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