If it’s summertime it must mean the World’s Game is coming to North America.
Since 2013, the annual International Champions Cup presented by Heineken has swiftly become an institution in the global football calendar, and its fifth North American edition, announced in New York on Tuesday night, is promising to be the most ambitious yet.
Eight of the world’s greatest teams, playing in world class stadiums across North America, will contest the 2017 tournament from July 19th-30th. And with six of the last ten UEFA Champions League titles between them, it promises to be an 11 day event that animates some of the most keenly felt rivalries in world football.
Highlights include such historic rivalries as Barcelona vs Real Madrid, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, on July 29th — the first time El Clásico has been played outside of Spain since 1982. Or there’s the power of the Manchester Derby — a rivalry that splits a city in two — when Manchester United and Manchester City meet on July 20th.
Some of these rivalries have lasted for almost the entire history of the game, but one of the beauties of the International Champions Cup has been its ambitious ability to respond to some of the recent rising powers who are rewriting the story of global football and instituting rivalries for a new era. Paris St Germain’s ascendancy to the top tier of international club football has seen them win the last two ICC tournaments, and they return to defend their title with games against two other emerging powers of the global game, AS Roma and Tottenham Hotspur, before rounding off their tournament with a clash with Italian champions Juventus.
Juventus themselves will be starting their campaign at MetLife Stadium, New Jersey, when they play Barcelona on July 22nd. And if that particular line up sounds familiar, it’s a rematch of this year’s Champions League quarter final — so at least one of these great clubs will be looking to swiftly avenge a painful defeat in continental competition.
Such ongoing battles run through this year’s tournament. Manchester City and Real Madrid will be restaging last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-final when they meet at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on July 29th. And when Manchester United face Barcelona at FedEx Field, in Landover, Maryland on July 26th, they’ll be facing the team that beat them in the 2009 and 2011 finals.
But the International Champions Cup does not just borrow from history — it makes history. 109,318 fans showed up to watch Manchester United and Real Madrid meet at the “Big House” at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in 2014 — the highest attended soccer game in US history. The two most attended soccer games in the US last year were also part of the International Champions Cup. 105,826 watched Real Madrid take on Chelsea at Michigan Stadium, while 86,461 watched Real Madrid play Paris Saint-Germain at Ohio Stadium.
If these numbers seem extraordinary, they are no surprise to the tournament’s founders Relevent Sports — who have always believed in the extraordinary potential for top flight soccer’s growth and presence in North America, and in other emerging territories around the world. Since the tournament’s inception in North America in 2013, it has expanded to include play in England, Australia, and China, and this year’s International Champions Cup will also feature standalone editions in Singapore and the third successive tournament in China (featuring Arsenal, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund).
As Charlie Stillitano, chairman of Relevent Sports, puts it: “The lineup of teams participating in this year’s tournament is world-class from top to bottom, highlighted by current champions of three top domestic leagues as well as the reigning Champions League titleholder. Hosting this caliber of soccer competition in the U.S. is only feasible through the ICC, where these teams can compete in a highly competitive tournament in preparation for their upcoming domestic campaign.”
Relevent Sports is a key part of the RSE Ventures group of properties. When Stephen M.Ross and Matt Higgins founded RSE Ventures in 2012, it was with an understanding of a massive shift in the way sports and entertainment are produced, managed, promoted, marketed, consumed and presented in the digital era. Football has been a central part of that global story — and the International Champions Cup has written a new and exciting chapter in the sport that meets the scale of the opportunities and challenges of a new sporting century head on. After all, the game keeps changing, so why not change the game?
Tickets for this year’s tournament go on sale April 4th. Fans can find out more information at www.internationalchampionscup.com . General public sale opens up on April 4th. Fans can follow the ICC on social media at @intchampionscup for exclusive content and announcements, and join the conversation using #2017ICC.
Host venues for the 2017 International Champions Cup presented by Heineken include: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; Los Angeles, CA Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, CA FedEx Field; Washington, D.C. Hard Rock Stadium; Miami, FL Camping World Stadium; Orlando, FL Gillette Stadium; Boston, MA MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ Red Bull Arena; Harrison, NJ Nissan Stadium; Nashville, TN
The United States tournament schedule for the 2017 International Champions Cup presented by Heineken is as follows(All times local):
Wednesday, July 19
Paris Saint-Germain F.C. vs. AS Roma – Venue & Time TBA
Thursday, July 20
Manchester United F.C. vs. Manchester City F.C. – Venue & Time TBA
Saturday, July 22
FC Barcelona vs. Juventus F.C. – MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, New Jersey. 6:00PM ET – ESPN
Paris Saint-Germain F.C. vs. Tottenham Hotspur F.C. – Camping World Stadium; Orlando, Florida. 8:00PM ET – ESPN2
Sunday, July 23
Real Madrid C.F. vs. Manchester United F.C. – Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, California. 2:00PM PT – ESPN
Tuesday, July 25
AS Roma vs. Tottenham Hotspur F.C. – Red Bull Arena; Harrison, New Jersey. 8:00PM ET – ESPN
Wednesday, July 26
FC Barcelona vs. Manchester United F.C. – FedEx Field; Landover, Maryland. 7:30PM ET – ESPN2
Paris Saint-Germain F.C. vs. Juventus F.C. – Hard Rock Stadium; Miami, Florida. 8:30PM ET – ESPN2 and ESPNews
Real Madrid C.F. vs. Manchester City F.C. – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum; Los Angeles, California. 8:00PM PT – ESPN
Saturday, July 29
Manchester City F.C. vs. Tottenham Hotspur F.C. – Nissan Stadium; Nashville, Tennessee. 6:00PM ET – ESPN2
Real Madrid C.F. vs. FC Barcelona – Hard Rock Stadium; Miami, Florida. 7:30PM ET – ESPN
Sunday, July 30
Juventus F.C. vs. AS Roma – Gillette Stadium; Boston, Massachusetts. 4:00PM ET – ESPN
The International Champions Cup will also be hosting a standalone tournament in Singapore in 2017. The International Champions Cup Singapore will run from July 25 – 29, 2017. Participating clubs for the tournament are FC Bayern Munich, Chelsea F.C. and F.C. Internazionale. Matches will be played in a round robin format and held at Singapore’s National Stadium.
For the third consecutive year, the International Champions Cup will also host a tournament in China. The 2017 International Champions Cup China will feature five of the world’s top professional soccer clubs participating in four matches from July 18 – 24, 2017. Participating clubs include Arsenal F.C., FC Bayern Munich, A.C. Milan, F.C. Internazionale, and Borussia Dortmund F.C. The tournament schedule concludes with another world-class rivalry when A.C. Milan and Inter Milan meet for the 291st Milan derby on Monday, July 24 in Nanjing.