The International Champions Cup, otherwise known as the ICC, has become a main staple of summer football. Founded by Relevent Sports, the creation of the ICC in 2013 served as the replacement for the World Football Challenge, which was held from 2009-2012.
This annual football friendly exhibition competition will kick off on July 11 with the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer taking on Club América of Liga MX, the top flight of Mexican football. In addition to these clubs, the tournament’s North America leg also presents multiple European powerhouses, as the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, French Ligue 1 and Spanish La Liga will all be represented. That’s a big reason why tickets to see International Champions Cup matches have been at a premium, being one of the summer’s most anticipated events.
The 2013 inaugural edition of the ICC featured eight teams: Real Madrid, Juventus, Chelsea FC, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Valencia, Everton and the LA Galaxy. Real Madrid emerged victorious in the first ever Final, with the tournament’s top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo scoring two goals to propel Real past Chelsea FC by a score of 3-1.
In 2014, the tournament once again captivated football fans, as the tournament’s average attendance rose from a little over 41,000 per match to almost 50,000. In addition to the attendance growth, the tournament field included the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, A.C. Milan, Roma, Inter Milan and Olympiacos.
The format of this edition was altered from the previous year. Composed of Group A and Group B, each group played as a round robin, with the winners Manchester United and Liverpool advancing to the Final. This all-English affair was won by Manchester United, as the Red Devils scored three second-half goals in front of 51,000 fans at Sun Life Stadium, en route towards topping their rivals, 3-1. United’s Wayne Rooney was the recipient of the Best Player award.
The 2015 edition of the tournament will feature an expanded field of North American teams, as well as an Australian and Chinese leg. The United States leg features ten teams, with games also being played in Mexico, Canada, Italy and England.
In the field will be 2014 champions Manchester United, and for first time, three Major League Soccer teams, that being LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes and the New York Red Bulls. Fans also will have a chance to see FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC, Paris Saint-Germain, SL Benfica, ACF Fiorentina and Club América.
The Australian and Chinese legs will feature the 2013 ICC champions Real Madrid. Joining them in Australia will be Manchester City of the English Premier League and AS Roma of the Serie A. China also presents two highly-regarded teams, with Italian clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan alongside the Cristiano Ronaldo-led Madrid.