Match Is First In Annual La Liga Game In US
Barcelona’s away game with Girona will be played in Miami in January. The two sides were due to meet at Girona’s Estadi Montilivi on 27 January. But following an agreement last month between La Liga and the US company Relevent the game will be played instead at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.
Girona’s joint-majority shareholders Manchester City have encouraged the club to take part in the game and La Liga president Javier Tebas admitted on Friday that the game is almost certain to take place in the US. However, he added that only clubs who volunteer to take part in the annual American game will be considered.
“Girona-Barcelona will 90 percent be played in the United States, but the agreement is not about just one game, it’s about a process which is much bigger,” Tebas told Spanish radio network Onda Cero on Friday.
“We held a bidding process and various clubs got involved. There’s no obligation for teams to play one game a year in the United States, only the clubs who volunteer to go will go. But this is much more than a game, it’s about strategy and sponsorship.”
Tebas also hinted that the game would suit clubs such as Girona with a smaller following.
“The game is designed to help teams that don’t have a very big fan base,” he said.
“Girona are partly owned by City and together with [Miami Dolphins owner and Relevent shareholder] Stephen Ross, they told us Girona were interested in playing this game.”
The Catalan side are expected to give free tickets to season-ticket holders for the game. Girona have sold 5000 season tickets so far this season and Diario AS reports that 1500 of them will be given free air flights and accommodation in Miami. The club will receive €4.5million for playing their home game in the US.
Girona played Barcelona at home for the first time last season. Barca won 3-0.