With much fanfare, the Maryland Stadium Authority announced last week that on July 28th at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Liverpool and Tottenham will play a friendly. Two of the most popular teams from the prestigious English Premier League are a marquee matchup.
My question is: Will they be able to draw more than 40,000 fans to Baltimore?
The same night in Washington, D.C.—or Landover, Maryland to be more accurate—at Fed Ex Field, there could be a far more compelling matchup between Chelsea and AC Milan. The match was announced on the club's website last week and reported by Steven Goff of The Washington Post as well as ELP TALK and the Chelsea in America fan group. The game has not yet been announced by the Washington Redskins, who would be promoting the game.The contract is expected to be signed later this week. Part the deal is expected to include a full double header. D.C. United will face a yet to be named team but all indications point to Juventus being the final part of the puzzle according to the Washington Post.
That would make for three games on the same day. Baltimore would hold their game at 1p.m. while the DC United game likely would kickoff at 3pm in Landover with the Chelsea - AC Milan game starting at 8p.m. The two stadiums are located just 33 miles apart it - would be possible for fans to attend all three games but it is not likely.
There is no doubt that, should the Landover doubleheader featuring Chelsea and AC Milan play as is expected, they will be a huge draw. Last year, over 80,000 fans packed Fed Ex Field for a rematch of the UEFA Champions League final as Manchester United defeated FC Barcelona.
The last game at M&T Bank stadium in 2010 between Manchester City and Inter Milan drew just 36,500 people. Ironically, the only sellout at the stadium in Baltimore for a friendly was AC Milan and Chelsea, played before a sellout crowd of 72,000 in 2009.
Both the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens are very aggressive at trying to bring the best European soccer to the mid-Atlantic region. However, it does not seem as if the two sides talk to each other very often.
As entertaining as a matchup between Liverpool and Tottenham is, and both teams will no doubt put on a compelling show, there would be twice as many people filling Fed Ex Field on the same night to watch a far more compelling international battle between Chelsea vs. AC Milan.
Here is hoping they can find a way to schedule the friendlies on different dates to allow fans to see all four teams play in the region.