Two years ago, the Big House hosted an international soccer friendly that set an attendance mark. A couple of months from now, the same venue will look to set a new standard.
Thursday morning, the University of Michigan formally announced that it will host a match between a pair of widely-recognized soccer clubs — La Liga’s Real Madrid and the English Premier League’s Chelsea. The July 30 match is part of the 2016 International Champions Cup, which is described as “an annual summer soccer tournament organized by Relevent Sports, featuring the best clubs from around the world.”
In August of 2014, Real Madrid, along with Manchester United, was part of a match at Michigan Stadium that set a U.S. soccer attendance mark as 109,318 fans packed into the Big House. That number easily surpassed the previous record for a soccer match on U.S. soil, besting the 1984 Olympic final between Brazil and France at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena that drew 101,799.
The world record of 173,850 for a soccer match was set in 1950, for the World Cup final between host-country Brazil and Uruguay.
“We are ecstatic to be coming back to the University of Michigan,” said Charlie Stillitano, chairman of Relevent Sports, in a statement. “In 2014, Real Madrid and Manchester United set the record for largest attended soccer game and we expect another great crowd, as Real Madrid and Chelsea are two of the biggest and best teams in the world. This will be a marquee match of the tournament and we are excited to bring the ICC back to Michigan.”
Whether the players will be as excited over the playing surface remains to be seen.