Chelsea’s US Tour Is A Preview Of 39th Game

chelsea training1 Chelseas US Tour Is A Preview Of 39th Game

By all accounts, Chelsea’s tour of the United States thus far has been a rousing success both on and off the field.

After playing in front of 65,289 fans on Saturday against Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field, Chelsea played in front of another massive crowd Tuesday night at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl. The attendance was 81,224. This Friday, Chelsea plays AC Milan at Baltimore’s M&T Stadium, and all 70,000 tickets have already been sold.

Chelsea’s final game of their US summer tour is against Club America this Sunday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. If Chelsea can draw a massive crowd against the Mexican club side (tickets are still available), then this summer’s tour for Chelsea has to go down as their most successful U.S. tour ever.

Not only will the large attendances raise eyeballs across the Atlantic among the English media, but Chelsea’s successful tour is bound to make the executives at the Premier League continue to think long and hard about finding a way to make the concept of the 39th game work.

The success of Chelsea’s tour will presumably open the eyes of other major Premier League clubs to consider coming to the United States for future tours.

For example, Manchester United came within 36 hours of having their players dangerously hurt when their hotel was bombed in Jakarta, Indonesia. United were able to schedule another friendly in Malaysia to compensate for missing the game in Indonesia, but safety must be a major concern for Manchester United when traveling in Asia. And the safety and security of the United States may be a huge plus in the future when clubs debate where they should travel.

There’s no doubt that the 39th Game would be a fantastic success for the Premier League and its clubs around the world with packed stadiums and enthusiastic crowds. Sure, clubs such as Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Burnley and others wouldn’t be able to generate the ticket sales that Chelsea would but pairing them up against clubs that are more popular worldwide would be a smart move.

Judging by the success of Chelsea’s US tour, who’s ready for the 39th Game now? Click the comments link below and share your opinion.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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11 Responses to Chelsea’s US Tour Is A Preview Of 39th Game

  1. Vernon says:

    Personally think that the 39th game isn’t a good idea. If the premier league wants to bring a game over, at most it should be the Community Shield

  2. Bradley Richardson says:

    The US is starved for quality football (soccer). While writers like Grant Wahl are ready to brand The Beckham experiment a failure; we are seeing a surge in football’s (soccer’s) popularity. The popularity stems from a combination of Beckham, the success of the US mens team, and immigrants from Mexico, South America, Central America bringing their love for the beautiful game. The pluses from the success of the pre season tour of America are more opportunities for Americans to view quality football (soccer), and hopefully more alliances between American and European clubs. The alliances will hopefully create an avenue for an exchange of players. Hopefully we can see European style developement where US players start their club training early and improve; instead of falling behind, getting a college education while their football (soccer) skills stagnate. Let’s let the success of this pre season tour serve as a middle finger to writers like Mike Celizic, who said that soccer was a sixth tier sport that would not gain in popularity.

  3. Ian says:

    I agree, financially successful tours like this will provide ammo for the 39th game lobbyists. That being said, I still believe Game 39 to be a hideous, patronising idea.

    I am in favour of a halfway house – why not host a match that kindof matters (say, the charity shield) in the US, or Malaysia or wherever? There is a trophy at stake, and yet it’s not so important that it devalues the ‘Englishness’ of the whole thing.

    The Italian super cup has been played in the US before, and in Libya I believe, why not try the same for the Premiership? (without libya, preferably)

  4. Phil McThomas says:

    “Not only will the large attendances raise eyeballs…”

    That sounds painful :)

  5. Ron says:

    It’s simple. The NFL became huge because it was broadcast for free for many years. The EPL needs to realize that football is like crack. Give it away for a while, then you can start to charge later. Yeah, the MLS won’t like it at first, but they will benefit from a country that has a growing interest in the beautiful game.

  6. Squiddy says:

    39th game? Is that because Chelsea played another PL team? Because hat’s the point about a 39th game – it’s a 39th PL game. So, I guess we’ll be seeing Milan or Inter or Seattle Sounders or Club America in the PL soon. That’s big news. Prat.

  7. bola says:

    i did not support the ideal of 39th game but instead carling cup and community shield should be considered

  8. Mike P says:

    First off, I think the idea of a 39th game is ridiculous. We have seen over the past few PL seasons how many different races come down to the last game – Title, Top 4, 5-7, and bottom 3 – adding an additional game that is played overseas would create an unfair advantage for some teams. With the amount of money, etc riding on where each team finishes, it would be wrong to add this game.
    That being said, I think that more PL and European teams should play other non-league games in the US based on the success of this years tours. Soccer in the US is becoming more and more relevant each year, and with the success of the USMNT in the confed. cup we are seeing that there are more soccer fans than anyone originally believed. I think ESPN needs to be a driving force behind bringing more european teams to US soil for matches. They should do everything they can to obtain PL rights to show matches in US, on either ESPN or ESPN2 in HD. If Americans are going to want to watch soccer, then they are going to want to watch the best players and biggest clubs in the world. They already do a great job of broadcasting Champions League games. By pushing for more Eurpoean clubs to tour and pre-season in the US ESPN can build a fan base with Americans that could translate into viewership during the PL season.

  9. steve says:

    what this should do is wake up the ESPN’s of the world, that there is a market in this country for a higher quality of soccer than MLS can provide.

    ESPN is crazy to think they can’t get good enough ratings to make money by showing a live EPL game on ESPN2 EVERY Saturday and Sunday morning, before college football and basketball is broadcast.

  10. boringarsenal says:

    The 39th game is just pure greed; adding this game to the fixture list will destroy the symmetry of the seasons fixtures. I think it’s perfectly fine to have these summer friendlies, the money is there and everyone recognizes the popularity of European, and Premier League football, but to Americanize the fixtures by adding an odd match will make nonsense of the balanced schedule that football has. Witness the farce of the NFL schedule; years pass before your club plays other NFL clubs, not to mention the unbalanced fixture list of all American professional sports!

  11. Matt H says:

    I don’t like the concept of a 39th match due to the importance of many of the final weeks in regard to league table results. Too important to travel across the pond just to satisfy some pocketbooks. Rather go with the idea of a separate “championship” between several worldclass clubs.
    The US will continue to be a tough sell due to the lack of time-outs, quarter breaks and infinite amount of advertising time that US football provides. Stoppages provide time for advertisers, which provides revenue for the networks- yeah, it’s all about the money folks.
    Too bad, although Inter looked like they’d rather be at Disneyland than be at the Rose Bowl last night, the quality that Chelsea showed was top class. Imagine an MLS club completing 6 or 7 consecutive passes (all for a purpose)…

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