Spanish Soccer May Help Fly Fans to U.S. After Outcry Over Match
(Bloomberg) -- Spain’s top soccer league is going on a charm offensive to win support from fans to hold its first official game outside the country, a plan that caused an outcry from players.
Among the options under consideration is the subsidizing of trips with low-fare tickets to help fans go to the match in the U.S., according to a person familiar with La Liga’s thinking. The money would benefit holders of season tickets who would normally expect to attend at home, said the person, declining to be identified because the talks are ongoing and private.
La Liga’s president, Javier Tebas, told Bloomberg News in July that the league was aiming to stage one or two matches abroad each season to expand globally and generate more revenue. La Liga then announced a deal with Relevent Sports LLC, the sports marketing company owned by American billionaire Stephen M. Ross, earlier this month. Ross also owns the Miami Dolphins.
The announcement was met with resistance from the union representing soccer players in Spain. Their opinion should be heard and players “don’t only think about money, we think about health, about our fans," union head David Aganzo said last week.
The league hasn’t disclosed which teams will play the match in the U.S., though Spanish media reported on Aug. 24 that the most likely candidates are reigning Spanish champion Barcelona and Girona, a smaller neighboring Catalan club that’s part of the group owning Manchester City in England.
Barcelona would appeal to fans in the U.S. because it’s one of the world’s most iconic teams. Girona is only in its second season in Spain’s top flight and is trying to build its brand.
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