Sept. 9 (UPI) — The top soccer clubs in Spain could be playing league games in China and the United States as early as next season.
La Liga president Javier Tebas said he is behind the idea.
“La Liga is global entertainment and we want to grow the international appeal of La Liga,” Tebas told the Financial Times. “As part of that effort we are discussing the option of playing some of the league matches outside of Spain. These discussions are still in early stages, but as La Liga, we support the idea.”
Two sources familiar with the talks told the Financial Times that the league matches could be held as early as next year.
Relevant Sports founded the International Champions Cup tournament four years ago. The U.S. promoter was co-founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross. This summer, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona faced off for El Clásico Miami at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida. About 66,000 fans attended that rivalry matchup.
A La Liga spokesman told BBC that the league wants to “grow the international appeal.”
“Last season more than 2.5 billion people around the world tuned in to watch La Liga,” the La Liga spokesman told BBC.
“Clearly, La Liga is global entertainment and we want to grow its international appeal. As part of that effort we are discussing the option of playing some of the league matches outside of Spain.”
Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore said there is no plan to move those league matches overseas, according to BBC.
“The future [for Relevent] is to do games that are official games in the US, China and other places,” Relevant Sports chairman Charlie Stillitano said at the Soccerex event last week in Manchester, according to ESPN.
“There are already leagues – and I can’t say [which], because they are confidential conversations – that are talking to us about potentially doing something in the future.”
According to La Liga, April’s El Clásico was watched in more than 185 countries by 650 million viewers.