SBD/August 5, 2014/Events and Attractions

Guinness Int'l Champions Cup Sees Strong Attendance Growth Compared To Past Tourneys

The ’14 Guinness Int’l Champions Cup drew a total of 642,224 fans for the 13 soccer matches played from July 24 through Aug. 4, up 30% from the event last year, which consisted of 12 matches. The event’s attendance growth was fueled by the crowd of 109,318 for Manchester United-Real Madrid match at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, which set a new record for a soccer match in the U.S. But attendance was down for the event’s final at Sun Life Stadium. The ManU-Liverpool final last night drew 51,104 fans, down from 67,273 fans for Real Madrid-Chelsea last year. This year’s event had a more diverse roster of venues. The ’14 tourney used 13 different venues compared to seven last year. This year’s ICC also saw an attendance increase from the ’12 edition, which was dubbed the Herbalife World Football Challenge. That tourney, which was bought by Dolphins and RSE Ventures Owner Stephen Ross in ’12, drew 338,483 fans for nine matches at eight venues. The ’14 event also was up from ’11, when 14 venues played host to 13 teams and 14 matches for a total attendance of 584,484 (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

GUINNESS INT'L CHAMPIONS CUP ATTENDANCE
YEAR
TEAMS
VENUES
MATCHES
TOTAL ATTENDANCE
'14
8
13
13
642,224
'13
8
7
12
492,575
'12*
11
8
9
338,483
'11*
13
14
14
584,484
'09*
4
6
6
336,813

CHART NOTES: '10 tourney was not held due to FIFA World Cup. * = Played as the Herbalife World Football Challenge. Event name was changed for '13 after purchased by RSE Ventures.

'14 GUINNESS INT'L CHAMPIONS CUP
DATE
VENUE MATCHUP
ATTENDANCE
7/24
BMO Field Olympiacos-AC Milan
10,603
7/26
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Manchester United-AS Roma
54,116
7/26
Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium Real Madrid-Inter Milan
62,583
7/27
Heinz Field AC Milan-Manchester City
34,347
7/27
Soldier Field Olympiacos-Liverpool
36,170
7/29
FedExField Manchester United-Inter Milan
61,238
7/29
Cotton Bowl Real Madrid-AS Roma
57,512
7/30
Yankee Stadium Liverpool-Manchester City
49,653
8/2
Lincoln Financial Field Inter Milan-AS Roma
12,169
8/2
TCF Bank Stadium Olympiacos-Manchester City
34,047
8/2
Michigan Stadium Manchester United-Real Madrid
109,318
8/2
Bank of America Stadium AC Milan-Liverpool
69,364
8/4
Sun Life Stadium Manchester United-Liverpool
51,104
       

SPREADING THE WEALTH: ManU MF Juan Mata said that the event "has been a success." Mata: "It's been a great tour. ... I know it's a friendly (tournament), but it's important to get off to a good start before the season." He added, "In every game we've played so far in this tournament I've been amazed by the stadiums and the support" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/5). In Miami, Jacob Feldman writes Liverpool and the "rest of Europe's top clubs are trying to position themselves as 'America's team.'" Liverpool Chief Commercial Officer Billy Hogan said, "We don’t just want to come in, play a match and leave. We try to leave a lasting legacy behind" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/5). Hogan said of the tourney, "It has worked out and it has been good. The excitement around the World Cup is noticeable. There is real momentum around this country" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/5).

JUST FOR FUN: SI.com's Grant Wahl wrote, "A fair number of soccer hardcores like to criticize these friendlies as empty calories, games without real competitive stakes, and they’re mostly right." Organizers "do what they can to create a veneer of real competition," but "nobody seriously thinks Real Madrid is in trouble this season based on their poor results in the ICC." The tourney is a "fun two-week long All-Star break that puts the U.S. and the world’s most prominent soccer names in front of an American public that has fallen in even bigger numbers for the sport thanks to this summer’s World Cup." U.S. fans are "savvy enough to know these games mean little, yet enthused enough to buy tickets and have a good time seeing their favorite players and teams." Preseason is a "fact of life in any sport," but the top European soccer clubs "do a better job of it with their U.S. tours than, say, the NFL with its overlong preseason" (SI.com, 8/4). ESPN’s Steve Nicol said, “I think all these friendlies are great for MLS. I think it brings a lot of people to soccer games that wouldn't normally go. I don't have a problem with preseason, (but) I would hate for clubs around the world to start coming to the U.S. and playing games because they're doing it for the wrong reasons. They're not doing it to try to help the game grow in this country. They're doing it for the money. If I'm an MLS side, I don't want other teams from other leagues coming and taking away some of the audience that I might get” (“ESPN FC,” ESPN2, 8/5).

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