International Champions Cup Expanding to Include China and Australia in 2015

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The International Champions Cup, one of the largest soccer tournaments in the world, will be even bigger in 2015. The ICC, which in the last two years was held in the U.S. and Canada, just announced that it will be expanding to include Australia and China this summer.

The teams that will compete in ICC Australia in 2015 have already been announced. European powerhouses Real Madrid CF, Manchester City and AS Roma have signed up for a three-match round robin at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. That means soccer fans who live "down under" will get a rare chance to see top European players like Cristiano Ronaldo, David Silva and Francesco Totti.

According to Ticketbis, the match between Real Madrid and Manchester City is the most popular in terms of sales, followed by the game between Real Madrid and AS Roma. It is not a surprise that the Spanish team has the most popularity amongst soccer fans traveling outside of Europe as Real Madrid is one of the most famous clubs in the world.

"The International Champions Cup is a truly global property, spanning three continents and featuring the most prestigious soccer clubs in the world," said Matt Higgins, CEO of RSE Ventures, the sports, entertainment and technology company co-founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. "We are proud of the rapid growth of the tournament and look forward to delivering the best in-venue experience and television broadcasts to fans, not only in China, Australia and North America, but across the globe."

The upcoming 2015 International Champions Cup in Australia is further proof of that. ICC China will be held in late July, with the teams and venues to be announced soon, according to RSE Ventures.

In the summer of 2013, Relevent Sports, a subsidiary of RSE Ventures, altered the international soccer landscape by organizing the first International Champions Cup and thereby transforming the traditional European club pre-season tours into a competitive tournament. Teams competing in the inaugural ICC were AC Milan, Chelsea, Everton, Inter Milan, Juventus, LA Galaxy, Real Madrid and Valencia.

That first tournament was played in six U.S. cities and one in Europe. It culminated with a thrilling final in which Real Madrid defeated Chelsea 3-1 in front of nearly 70,000 fans at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

In 2014, the International Champions Cup was held in the U.S. and Canada and participating teams were Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United of England; AC Milan, Inter Milan and Roma of Italy; Olympiacos of Greece; and defending champions Real Madrid of Spain. Manchester United won the tournament with a 3-1 victory over their English rivals Liverpool in the final at Sun Life Stadium.

The 2014 group match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at the University of Michigan drew a crowd of 109,318, a record for a soccer match in the U.S. In total, over 631,000 fans attended in 2014, with a global audience of over 80 million tuning in from over 150 countries to watch.

This year, the International Champions Cup is expected to reach a global audience of over one billion in 200 countries.

The 2015 tournament is presented by a partnership of RSE Ventures, Relevent Sports, Catalyst Media Group and Letv Sports.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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