The soccer news starts with Real Madrid playing Atletico at MetLife Stadium on Friday night. The latest high profile International Champions Cup game relocates the Madrid derby in a summer where questions abound over the friendly schedule. With respect to the promoters, the International Champions Cup by design aren't exactly friendlies. They'll crown a winner, and it won't be either of the Madrid clubs. The real issue for the this summer's tournament is attendance.
Arsenal currently leads the 2019 ICC, a point ahead of Benfica and Manchester United, but with Benfica and Manchester United with a game left to play. Arsenal opened their three-game set with a sellout against Bayern Munich, but it was at the home of the LA Galaxy with a capacity of just over 26k. Their second game was against Fiorentina in Charlotte, drawing an announced crowd of 34,902 in a stadium that holds over twice that. They finished their American tour against Real Madrid at FedEx Field in front of 52,826 in a stadium with a listed capacity of 82k. Benfica played Chivas in front of 15,724 at Levi's Stadium that seats just over 68k. Game two was against Fiorentina at Red Bull Arena, drawing 12,141 in a soccer-specific stadium that holds 25k. Manchester United is playing in China and Cardiff.
If Arsenal's attendances are troubling, it's Benfica showing the issue with the ICC this summer. Benfica didn't have the lowest attended game so far. That went to Fiorentina vs Chivas that opened the International Champions Cup in Bridgeview in front of 10,062. It's certainly worth pointing out two things.
First, some of the biggest clubs in the 2019 ICC aren't involved in the United States portion. Manchester United, Spurs, and Inter Milan played their ICC schedule outside of the US.
Second, some of the biggest clubs in the world weren't involved at all. Barcelona and Chelsea were in Japan on tour. Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool were in the United States but didn't play in the ICC. It's worth pointing out that Liverpool vs Dortmund at Notre Dame Stadium drew an announced crowd of 40,361 in a venue that holds over 80k. They almost sold out Fenway Park, but that's a venue that seats just under 38k. An announced crowd of 31,112 showed up at Yankee Stadium that has a capacity of over 54k.
What this means in the big picture is an open question. This was a summer with multiple tournaments competing for interest and multiple options from European clubs on tour in the United States. More isn't merrier in that regard. Like we see with TV ratings during the season, so many options tends to drag numbers toward an unflattering median. The ICC did well in Houston, coming close to selling out NRG Stadium with 60,143 in attendance for Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid. That's an indication of an already established truism. The bigger the match-up, the more likely that US fans will pay to watch a friendly.
Also in the soccer news, QPR announced that the club signed Geoff Cameron, with them last season on loan from Stoke City. Cameron left Houston during the 2012 MLS season to sign with Stoke City, playing in 168 games. Last season on loan to QPR he played in 19 games. QPR opens their 2019-20 season at Stoke City on August 3.
"For me, I’m excited for this role and I’m excited to be here," Cameron said. "I just want to enjoy my football, like I did here last season. The fans have been great with me. I’ve seen a few Tweets – one guy said that if I signed permanently then he’d get a tattoo of me on his leg! The fans have been super supportive, and I’ve had lots of nice messages since the end of last season. I’m really happy to be back."
MLSsoccer's Matthew Doyle looks at the Leagues Cup quarterfinal results. The Athletic's Sam Stjeskal with a big picture point about what the Leagues Cup may represent and how it's already disappointing.
SBI Soccer's Larry Henry Jr has Tyler Boyd's comments about his move to Besiktas. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson attempts to work through Gareth Bale's issues at Real Madrid. World Soccer's Brian Glanville takes up the reports that Bale could move to the Chinese Super League. Goal's Robin Bairner on what elite coaches make. Inside World Football's Paul Nicholson with Barcelona FC once again generating over a billion dollars in revenue.
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