Stephen Ross Looking At Ways To Make ICC Tournament Profitable
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross flew to Paris this month to "speak with leaders of Europe's most powerful soccer clubs" about possible changes to the Int'l Champions Cup, according to Tariq Panja of the N.Y. TIMES. For seven years, Ross has "plowed millions" into the ICC, an annual showcase that has become "very lucrative for the superstar-laden clubs that receive a coveted spot in the competition." However, for Ross and RSE Ventures -- the sports investment company he co-founded that controls the ICC -- the price of running the event has grown to more than $100M, with "no signs of a profit." Ross and RSE execs said that "something had to change -- organizers could not keep losing money." Panja notes the clubs were told that "either the event -- which teams treat as little more than a preseason tuneup -- had to become more meaningful or RSE would be forced to turn off the spigot." Ross' group "wants the teams to commit to a tournament with legitimate stakes, one with the kind of competitive tension seen in other events -- something akin to taking the Champions League ... on tour." Ross' trip to Paris also "included a meeting" with UEFA. The ICC organizers want to "secure UEFA's backing for any new event by having it partner with them or allow them to use its branding to give the tournament the sheen of excellence and importance they crave" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/21).