Back in 2013, the International Champions Cup announced that it was holding a tournament in the United States between some of the giants of international club soccer. The inaugural tournament featured big names like Chelsea and Everton from the Premier League, Real Madrid from La Liga, and Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan from Serie A.
While they may technically be tune-up games for the European sides before their domestic league seasons, having major clubs with international superstars play all over the country like that was something the U.S. had not seen before. In the final in Miami, Cristiano Ronaldo put on a display against Chelsea, bagging two of Real’s three goals to take the title. You may remember the young fan that was arrested for hugging Ronaldo. It’s an experience that many soccer fans in the States, and now Orlando, get to host matches for at least the next two summers. On Tuesday, the tournament announced that Camping World Stadium will be a site for 2017 and 2018.
Orlando was added to the roster of host cities thanks to a new partnership between the ICC and Visit Orlando, which intends to drive tourism to the city. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Visit Orlando is now the tournament’s tourism partner for the United States. Visit Orlando will also get publicity through signage and promotion during the event. For a tournament that not only brings in teams and their fans from Europe, the teams and players involved also drive interest from fans from around the world. One of the reasons that the tournament operators selected Orlando was the city’s ability to draw tourists from around the globe. That, plus the locals’ rabid soccer fandom and a 65,000-seat stadium made it an easy choice.
The tournament has vastly expanded since its first year, now taking place across several continents and rotating in new famous clubs from Europe, North America, and Australia. Real Madrid are already confirmed for 2017’s edition and will be playing in Miami, so chances are Los Blancos will not be involved in the match in the City Beautiful. There will be plenty of other top teams to choose from, though, and the Orlando soccer community is sure to get a good match between two high-profile sides. The full schedule will be released in March. If you’re interested in more information about tickets for the Orlando match or the tournament in general, the ICC has a mailing list and will release information as it becomes available.