La Liga is taking its show on the road.
Spain’s soccer league and Relevent announced Thursday in a statement their 15-year promotional partnership, under which they’ll stage at least one competitive game per season in the United States and elsewhere in North America. In doing so, La Liga will become the first major European soccer league to play league games outside its home country and the first to do so in the U.S.
“We’re devoted to growing the passion for soccer around the world,” La Liga president Javier Tebas said. “This ground-breaking agreement is certain to give a major impulse to the popularity of the beautiful game in the U.S. and Canada. Relevent has filled stadiums across the U.S. with the International Champions Cup, we’re thrilled to partner with them on a joint mission to grow soccer in North America.”
The joint venture, La Liga North America, didn’t announce the dates for the U.S. games or the teams that would feature in them, but Relevent executive chairman Charlie Stillitano told The Washington Post’s Steve Goff participating teams in the U.S. games must include La Liga’s leading teams, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia.
“And the league knows that,” Stillitano said.
The first U.S.-based La Liga game(s) will take place as early as this season.
“Our goal is to get one game off the ground; we’ll see how it proliferates from there,” Relevent CEO Danny Sillman told The Financial Times.
Relevent stages the International Champions Cup, an annual tournament in which Spanish and other European soccer clubs travel to the U.S., Asia and other locales to play each other during their respective preseasons. La Liga North America hopes to simultaneously break ground by playing competitive games abroad and follow the footsteps of giants, like the NFL, NBA and MLB, which have played regular-season games in foreign countries for over a decade.
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