Is International Champions Cup a Threat to Present Football Order?

Published on November 4th, 2018
Written By: Ariel Noel

Money talks in the sport of football - Illustration. The International Champions Cup (ICC) is a football tournament that has been taking place every summer in the United States since year 2013 and it features the world's top clubs. The tournament has a pre-season and test game feel, but the money behind it is very serious. And so is the match attendance.

According to Football Leaks and the German magazine Spiegel, who have obtained a copy of the confidential agreement between Barcelona FC and Relevant Sports, a company that puts on the ICC, the Catalan club received in the area of $14m for three games and a week of time spent in the United States last summer. The breakdown was $3.25m per game and a $6.5m bonus for playing the 'El Clasico' vs. Real Madrid in Miami. The agreement also featured bonuses, such as playing vs. Manchester United, which brings additional $750k to every club that does. There were also clauses to make sure the big stars, such as Messi and Suarez, play at least one half of the game.

While the International Champions Cup does not get much respect from the European fans and the European football governing body UEFA, it sure has the attention of the global audience, as well as the clubs themselves. Some of the games in the 2018 edition of the tournament were played in Singapore and Europe. With millions of dollars at stake, the tournament is becoming tough to ignore. These are the kind of premiums that clubs earn by playing in the UEFA Champions League for example. It is serious. If the Relevant Sports owner Charlie Stillitano had it his way, the International Champions Cup would be a year-long league, played world-wide, with top 16 football clubs competing. The revenue potential of that model is impressive.

As the International Champions Cup is gaining momentum, according to some it is becoming a threat to the current world football order. With the potential of very large profits, the top football clubs have their ears (and wallets) wide open, while they wait to see how things play out. Would a year-long football super league featuring the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, Bayern Munich etc. be a success in this day and age? I would not bet against it.

According to the Football Leaks documents, the top clubs are very interested in this idea. Money talks, and in this case it speaks very loudly, as the financial prospects for the elite are far better than participation in the English Premier League for example and even more so than participating in the Spanish La Liga.

Are tumultuous times ahead in world football?

We shall find out soon enough.

Source: Spiegel

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