La Liga to Play Matches in the United States After 15-Year Deal Agreed

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2018

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 20: Lionel Messi (L) and Andres Iniesta (R) of FC Barcelona lift up the Spanish La Liga 2015-2016 season trophy before the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis Balompie at Camp Nou on August 20, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

The United States and Canada will host a regular-season La Liga match every campaign after a 15-year deal was agreed between the Spanish league and Relevent, a sports promotion company backed by Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross. 

Per Jeff Carlisle of ESPN FC, it has yet to be confirmed when the first match will be played in the U.S. and which two La Liga sides will be involved, but the Hard Rock Stadium would be an obvious location given it is the home of the Dolphins.

The Spanish Football Podcast provided the press release confirming the unprecedented joint venture:

Per Murad Ahmed of the Financial Times, though a date has yet to be fixed for the first match, the aim is for it to take place "as soon as possible," either this season or next.

It seems unlikely it will be between two of La Liga's smaller clubs, and the ideal scenario would surely be for a clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona, the league's two biggest sides, to act as the inaugural fixture.

La Liga is following in the footsteps of the NFL by taking their domestic competition to the international stage.

Back in 2007, the Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Giants at Wembley Stadium, and there has been at least one NFL fixture a year at the venue ever since—three are scheduled for October, as well as one in Mexico City.

Per Ahmed, the aim of the venture, named LaLiga North America, is to challenge the global reach of rival leagues in Europe, particularly the Premier League.

And it seems inevitable that, assuming La Liga's move is a success, it will not be long before Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga matches are played stateside as well, per ESPN's Alex Shaw:

Neither the United States nor Canada were able to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, hosted in Russia earlier this summer.

But a joint bid between the U.S., Canada and Mexico was awarded the hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup back in June.

A combination of the new La Liga deal and the upcoming World Cup is sure to further increase the popularity of football in North America over the next decade. 

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