FNR DAILY NEWS
Spanish players and fans will be getting their passports ready as La Liga aims to wins the hearts of fans across the Atlantic.
La Liga and Relevant, the International Champions Cup organisers, have signed a 15-year deal to promote the league. The centrepiece of the deal will be one game per season taking place in North America.
La Liga president Javier Tebas believes the deal will benefit the league’s bottom line with broadcast and sponsorship opportunities.
Naturally, the move has its critics, none more so than the players.
The president of the Spanish footballer’s union (AFE) David Aganzo spoke of their concerns.
"The players are outraged, very surprised, and are all against it. It's unanimous," he said.
"The players don't want to play overseas. Things have to be done in a more coherent way and with common sense.
"A decision of this magnitude, that affects players, referees and fans, was taken unilaterally and is a lack of respect.”
Aganzo also noted that some clubs were not against strike action while others were.
“We are going to try to see that it doesn't reach that extreme,” he said.
“But we are willing to go right to the last option if it is necessary."
There have been reports that the Girona v Barcelona match scheduled to take place on January 27 will now be moved to Miami. Girona has publicly acknowledged the reports but says nothing has been confirmed as yet.
The BBC has reported that potential compensation for fans and season ticket holders in the form of flights and accommodation to the match is on the cards.
While Catalan paper Sport has reported that discounted season passes and tickets to the Barcelona v Girona match at the Nou Camp are also possible.
The Afternoons on FNR panel have discussed this game at length. The main question is: if there are 38rounds, with 10 fixtures per round and 380 games total, is one game offshore that big of a deal?
From a marketing perspective, the team thought it was a great idea with the sheer number of eyeballs on the game and consequently the league creating a boost in brand awareness and exposure.
However, from the football purist’s perspective, the belief that the Spanish La Liga should have all its games played in Spain was strong. The concerns of the players – and particularly the fact that they weren’t consulted regarding this decision – was also a big con.
The match presents a potential logistical nightmare with the teams’ domestic and continental schedules having to take precedence over this game.
With the inclusion of Barça, the American public is sure to get on board and make it a sell-out. The financial benefits could be massive and the hope would be that the dollars brought in justify the whole exercise.
The move is not out of character for La Liga president Javier Tebas who has previously made decisions to benefit international fans.
Last December’s El Clasico was moved to midday local time to make it friendly for the Asian market, while this season, matches will kick off at 10:15pm local time, again with the intention of appealing to overseas fans, irrespective of the inconvenience for local fans.
What do you think? Are you for or against the La Liga match in the United States?