Deal Signed With US Promoter
La Liga is set to play a regular-season game in the United States or Canada as part of a fifteen-year deal announced today.
The contract, between the Spanish league and media sports and entertainment company Relevent, will see one match per season played in North America. Details of the participating teams or the venue have yet to be announced.
“This extraordinary joint venture is the next giant leap in growing soccer’s popularity in North America,” Relevent chairman and owner Stephen Ross said. “This unique relationship will create new opportunities for millions of North American soccer fans to experience the most passionate, exciting, and highest level of soccer in the world.”
Miami is the likeliest venue given that Ross owns both the Miami Dolphins NFL team and their home ground the Hard Rock Stadium.
Relevent CEO Danny Sillman hinted that the game could be held in the early part of this season.
“It’s not hard to figure out where we would want it to be based on our ownership with Stephen Ross,” Sillman told ESPN. “That part isn’t too difficult to figure out.” When asked about the timing of the game he added: “Much sooner than the public is expecting.”
Relevent organise the International Champions Cup series of pre-season friendlies across North America and Asia.
The arrangement would mean one La Liga side effectively giving up home advantage in one of their games while season-ticket holders of that club would miss out on attending one game unless they are prepared to travel overseas.
Clearance needs to be given for the arrangement by both Uefa and Fifa.
The Premier League is likely to keep a close eye on the situation. In 2008, the league proposed ‘Game 39’ – a whole round of matches played overseas. The proposal was met with a lukewarm response and was later dropped. There are no plans at present to revive the concept although a successful debut in North America could bring the plan back to the table.