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SBD/August 4, 2014/Events and Attractions
Guinness Int'l Champions Cup Match At Big House Sees Record Crowd For Soccer In U.S.
Published August 4, 2014
STAYING RELEVENT: RSE Ventures co-Founder & CEO Matt Higgins, whose Relevent Sports subsidiary is putting on the Guinness Int'l Champions Cup, said of the game at Michigan Stadium, "It was pretty extraordinary being there with that crowd. You could feel it was one of the tipping points for the sport in this country. If there was any question whether soccer has arrived in the United States, that put an end to it. It sold out in 36 hours, and it wasn’t just the size of the crowd, but the level of enthusiasm" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/4). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sharon Terlep wrote having two "iconic European teams competing in America's biggest football stadium made for some unusual juxtapositions." Vendors "hawked Guinness in front [of] the typically dry Big House and, before the game, a huge tarp bearing the beer brand's logo laid where the 50-yard-line and the University of Michigan's maize block 'M' would be on a typical game day." In the press room, a "cluster of British reporters remarked on the stadium's huge screen and its tiny seats relative to big European venues" (WSJ.com, 8/2).
SATURDAY'S GUINNESS INT'L CHAMPIONS CUP GAMES
|Manchester United-Real Madrid||Michigan Stadium||109,318|
|Liverpool-AC Milan||Bank of America Stadium||69,364|
|Inter Milan-AS Roma||Lincoln Financial Field||12,169|
|Manchester City-Olympiacos||TCF Bank Stadium||34,047|
KIND OF A BIG DEAL: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler reported out of the 69,364 tickets sold for Saturday's Liverpool-AC Milan game at Bank of America Stadium, "almost all of those people showed up." Only a "few thousand seats went empty," which is "at least 15,000 more than the average turnstile count" for a Panthers preseason game. Saturday's crowd "was not a fluke," as the stadium hosted a Mexico-Iceland friendly in '10 that also "drew more than 63,000 fans." There "have been only a handful of non-Panthers events since the stadium opened in 1996 that truly felt big." This game "joined that list" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/3). Also in Charlotte, Curry Shoff reported Liverpool fans "filled most of the stadium." The supporters "performed traditional Liverpool chants and made their presence known during each of the game’s two goals and at the game’s end" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/3).
SOCCER NATION? In St. Paul, Andy Greder reported 34,047 fans "turned out Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium" for the Manchester City-Olympiacos Champions Cup game. But prior to the match, Friday "was fraught with concerns about the uneven temporary grass sod laid over the artificial turf." Olympiacos MF Pajtim Kasami said, "We were close to canceling the game." Olympiacos coach Jose Miguel Gonzalez Martin del Campo: "We feel like the field was terrible" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 8/3). Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Tim McManus noted a crowd of 12,169 attended Saturday's Inter Milan-AS Roma Champions Cup match at Lincoln Financial Field (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/3). In Miami, Michelle Kaufman reports a crowd of "more than 50,000 is expected" tonight at Sun Life Stadium for the ManU-Liverpool Champions Cup final (MIAMI HERALD, 8/4).