RSE Ventures Plans Int'l Soccer Tourney With Finals Staged At Sun Life Stadium
La Liga club Real Madrid, Serie A club Juventus and MLS Galaxy are “three of the eight teams that will take part in the U.S. this summer in the first edition of an annual knockout tournament,” according to Grant Wahl of SI.com. The new tournament, which “is being called the International Champions Cup, will take place all around the U.S., with the final” at Sun Life Stadium. There will be “two groups of four -- Eastern and Western groups.” The ICC marks “the first big splash into soccer” by Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross and his RSE Ventures firm. After several years of “one-off summer exhibitions, it will be a change of pace to see top teams in a tournament in which the winner takes home a trophy” (SI.com, 4/15). In Miami, Michelle Kaufman notes the event is "the culmination of a summer preseason tournament that will be televised on Fox and in more than 150 countries.” The “12-day bracketed ‘International Champions Cup’" opens in Europe on July 27 and "then will move to the United States for seven days of competition on both coasts.” First-round matches are “in the works" for Phoenix, S.F. and Indianapolis. The semifinals “would be in New York and Los Angeles on Aug. 3 and 4.” All eight teams “travel to Miami to compete in the seventh-place, fifth-place, third-place and championship matches.” At least four of the teams and the title sponsor “will be released Thursday.” The event reportedly “will include top teams from Spain, Italy, England and Turkey.” The winning team is “expected to take home a $1 million prize.” Relevant Sports CEO Charlie Stillitano said, “What’s extraordinary about this event for Miami is that all eight teams will be playing at Sun Life Stadium over a two-day span.” The teams are “signing three-year contracts with the tournament.” It "has not been decided if Sun Life Stadium will continue to host the championship and consolation rounds, or if that will rotate” (MIAMI HERALD, 4/16).
SOCCER MECCA ON THE RISE? In this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Lefton & Ourand report Ross’ “dream of transforming Sun Life Stadium into a center for soccer in the United States could get a big boost” hosting the tournament this summer. While “nothing has been signed, initial plans have Fox Soccer Channel carrying the tournament this year, with Fox Sports 1 carrying it in 2014 and 2015.” A source said that a “marquee team like Manchester United could command as much as $2 million.” Smaller “upper-division clubs would cost around $500,000.” N.Y. marketing firm Insignia, a supporting company for RSE Ventures, is “handling branding and sales.” Organizers have “shopped the tournament around to other media outlets.” Sources said that ESPN, which “previously carried the World Football Challenge … passed on it” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/15 issue).