May 15 – While the English Premier League is taking six teams – including Chelsea and Newcastle United – to play a series of friendly fixtures on the East coast of the US at the end of July, Arsenal and Manchester United have signed up to play on the west coast.
The ‘Soccer Champions Tour’ will see the two Premier League sides combine with FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan for a series of fixtures from July 22 to August 2.
The summer battle for the hearts, minds and money of the US soccer fan is well and truly on with eight fixtures taking place in host market stadiums in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando, and San Francisco.
While Concacaf’s Blue Riband men’s national team event finishes with its final at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on July 16, the ‘Soccer Champions Tour’ begins a day after the start of the Leagues Cup which sees the MLS and Mexico’s LigaMX suspend their schedules for an inter-league knockout competition July 21 to August 19.
It is a date clash the new Leagues Cup could do without. The noise created by the power play of the European giant clubs and their American promoters on the West Coast and in Houston, Texas, will inevitably lead to some confusion and competition in the battle for broadcasters and sponsors, as well as gate revenues.
Soccer Champions Tour is the brainchild of a newly formed company created by global investment firm Sixth Street, with the aim “to support the continued global growth of top-tier sports franchises by organizing high-profile, competitive events for the millions of fans that live outside the domestic markets of the biggest clubs.”
Sixth Street’s ambition does not stop at a series of friendlies or with the men’s club game.
Alan Waxman, co-founder and CEO at Sixth Street, said: “While this year’s tour consists of men’s clubs, we look forward to expanding next summer to bring the world’s best women’s clubs to local audiences around the globe, and in the future to evolve this series into a format with real games of consequence.”
As well as running men’s and women’s competitive professional club matches, the aim is to expand into organising elite youth academy competitions.
Soccer Champions Tour is working closely with global premium experiences company Legends as well as leading sports and live entertainment company AEG.
“AEG is excited about the partnership with Soccer Champions Tour and Legends to bring the most successful soccer clubs in the world to fans across the U.S.,” said Tom Braun, Sr. Vice President, Soccer & Business Operations and Business Development at AEG. “Every matchup in this series is of the highest caliber and we’re thrilled that American soccer fans will have the opportunity to see these epic games featuring legendary teams live and in person.”
“We are proud to be partnering with the world’s most storied clubs, which have the world’s strongest and most passionate supporters, to provide this rare opportunity for American fans to experience the game at the highest level,” said Waxman.
Soccer Champions Tour Schedule
Saturday, July 22
FC Barcelona vs. Juventus at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Sunday, July 23
Real Madrid vs. AC Milan at The Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, CA
Wednesday, July 26
Arsenal vs. FC Barcelona at SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Wednesday, July 26
Real Madrid vs. Manchester United at NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Thursday, July 27
Juventus vs. AC Milan at Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA
Saturday, July 29
FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Tuesday, August 1
AC Milan vs. FC Barcelona at Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Wednesday, August 2
Juventus vs. Real Madrid at Camping World Stadium, Orlando FL
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