What: Relevent Sports unveiled the full lineup of clubs set to participate in the 2017 International Champions Cup (ICC) presented by Heineken.
Why it matters: Real estate investor and entrepreneur Stephen Ross’ intention to make a money juggernaut out of soccer friendlies is well-known in sports marketing circles. Ross and business partner Matt Higgins, founded Relevent Sports five years ago to manage the ICC. David Tyler, CEO of Relevent Sports, tells Portada that sponsorship and broadcast right sales are now a very substantial component of ICC’s revenues.
The fifth installment of the ICC summer soccer tournament will have eight of the world’s best soccer clubs facing off in world-class venues across the United States. The summer tournament will run from July 19 – 30, 2017. The general public will have access to tickets for all matches starting Tuesday, April 4. In the U.S. the match will be broadcast, as well as streamed, by ESPN (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish). The ICC which also has an Asian edition, is a unique example of top European soccer clubs playing in the United States. David Tyler, CEO of Relevent Sports, the company that manages the ICC, tells Portada that traditionally stadium ticket sales have been the main revenue component of the ICC but that this year this dominance has substantially decreased with sponsorships and broadcast rights now being a very substantial revenue stream. In addition to the U.S. ICC is broadcast in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
First El Clásico in the U.S.
The 2017 International Champions Cup presented by Heineken will be headlined by the first ever El Clásico to take place in the United States and first outside of Spain since 1982. El Clásico Miami will see longtime rivals Real Madrid C.F. and FC Barcelona match up on Saturday, July 29 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Hailed as one of sport’s all-time greatest rivalries, the current rosters for each club feature some of the best players in the world, underscored by the fact that these two clubs currently hold the titles for the Spanish La Liga and UEFA Champions League. Sources at Relevent Sports told Portada that the Real Madrid -Barcelona match this summer already has sold 41,000 tickets.
The Manchester Derby will also head stateside with English Premier League powerhouses Manchester City F.C. and Manchester United F.C. meeting on Thursday, July 20 with the venue to be announced at a later date. The Derby features two clubs who boast a combined 24 EPL titles, including seven of the previous ten.
Also participating in the 2017 International Champions Cup presented by Heineken will be current Italian Serie A champions Juventus F.C., current French Ligue 1 champions and defending International Champions Cup (ICC) champions Paris Saint-Germain F.C., as well as English Premier League powerhouse Tottenham Hotspur F.C. and famed Serie A club, AS Roma, all of whom qualified for the UEFA Champions League in 2016.
“The International Champions Cup continues to bring the biggest clubs of the world to the United States,” said David Tyler, CEO of Relevent Sports. “Our commitment to world-class competition and achieving the ultimate fan experience is only matched by the energy that these clubs will bring to ICC stadiums across the country.”
Each participating team will play three matches as part of the 2017 International Champions Cup presented by Heineken. Each win in regulation will result in three points and a tie will go straight to a shootout; the winning team in a shootout will receive two points and the losing team will receive one. The team with the most points at the end of the tournament will be crowned champion.
For the second consecutive year, Heineken is the presenting sponsor of the 2017 International Champions Cup.
“Soccer is a part of our global heritage and our sponsorship with the International Champions Cup reinforces our love and commitment to the game,” said Nuno Teles, Chief Marketing Officer, Heineken USA “For the second year, we’ll be bringing historic matches from top European teams to the U.S. so soccer fans can come together, enjoy a Heineken and experience some of the best teams and players the sport has to offer.” In addition to Heineken, the 2017 tournament sponsors include: Ally, Nike, Orlando, Chevrolet, AON, Groupon, VividSeats, Gatorade and Xyience. Additional partners will be announced in the coming months. All matches for the International Champions Cup will be carried on ESPN networks including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and streaming network ESPN3, accessible through WatchESPN and the ESPN App. This year’s tournament is expected to be broadcast in over 170 territories.