Moving the Premier League to the USA. Plans are underway



By Tony Attwood

In 2019 we published a history of Arsenal’s pre-season games on the Arsenal History website, covering 1893 up to the year of publication.  Take a peek and you can see just how the notion of pre-season has changed across the years and how different managers have handled pre-season in their own ways.

Now things have changed and the one thing that dominates pre-season is money.   And we think of that because of the success of the games in the USA recently, and how this summer Manchester United will play Liverpool in an American stadium holding over 77,000.  Apparently, the tickets sold out in three hours.   It is the  greatest pre-season financial success for a friendly for both teams.  Give it two more years and clubs will be declining to playing in the Community Shield (which of course was a couple of years ago found guilty of significant accounting errors by the Charity Commission).

Also this coming summer Real Madrid will play Barcelona in the same stadium in the USA.  The Athletic tells us that the best price for a ticket is currently £680.

Matches such as these are mostly organised by Relevent Sports which has for a while been selling Uefa matches onto American TV .   La Liga matches in the USA recently sold for £1,4bn for an eight year deal. 

Since then as we have noted before the promoter has been taking anyone who stands in its way (including Fifa) to court and they have won.  Competitive matches can be played outside of the country of the two clubs.

Which in essence means my season ticket at Arsenal has become worth less than it was because there is every chance that next season or the season after, at least one, and possibly more Arsenal home games will be played in the USA.

Nothing of course is fully settled yet, except that if Uefa or Fifa were to refuse to sell the rights to stage Premier League games in the USA they would lose in court.  So the future is pre-season and some league matches, played in the USA.

Part of the reason that Fifa is stepping back is the thought that it could lose, and in such a case some of the evidence that would be raised would clearly discredit Fifa’s name – and as we have shown over the years there is a huge amount of such evidence lurking around.

Indeed it could also be argued that Uefa itself is utterly incapable of organising safe matches, considering the total cock-ups of the last two European Cup finals, and the disaster at the Euro 2020 final.   Fifa and Uefa do not want it said in court (with film evidence) that they are congenitally incapable of organising safe football matches.  But that is the truth.

Besides, Fifa has already sold the rights to the 2025 Club World Cup to America, and more tournaments are likely to follow.

On the back of this it is now likely that the European Super League will come back under nominal Uefa control, but with games played in the USA.  Indeed there has been talk of 50 clubs from around the world competing in a new venture without a couple of years.  They simply won’t call it the Super League, because that would make the clubs look rather two-faced, and be awfully upsetting for those people who campaigned against Super League.

One interesting point that is being put forward is that it is ludicrous for a body like Uefa to act as both organiser and regulator of competitions – as with the disaster of the Champions League final in Paris, in which it ended up investigating itself and finding itself largely not guilty of doing anything wrong.

And of course we could also have the new regulator for English football who might object to the new plans.  But since clubs earn more from international TV rights than from UK TV rights, the clubs are likely to tell the regulator and government where to go.

For if Uefa or Fifa tells Arsenal it cannot play Manchester City in a league match in the USA and cannot take part in a competition organised by Relevant rather than Uefa.   Arsenal says, “tough, we are doing it” and then what?

It is difficult to see how the government could stop the club, and even if half the season ticket holders at Arsenal refused to renew, there are more than enough people waiting to snatch up their tickets.

In fact in many ways we are almost there as the top three clubs plus Manchester United will play in the USA with three of the four playing each other (and Manchester City also playing Chelsea) this summer.

Remember football as it was?  We have one more season, then it is gone.

4 Replies to “Moving the Premier League to the USA. Plans are underway”

  1. Selling tv matches and moving games are a world
    Pedantic point if there was a home game in USA your ST would be reduced in price so it’s not worth less

  2. Given the way prices have been changed for season tickets, in terms for example of cup matches, over the years there is certainly no guarantee that if there are 17 home games in London instead of 19 that thee season ticket would be reduced in price by two nineteenths. I suspect the drop would be less, and within a year or two would be eaten away completely.

  3. Look at what the NFL and the NBA are doing…. organising games outside of the US.
    Why would anyone start criticising this when Sp*rs stadium was built specifically with that dual functionnality in mind ?

    As for ticket prices going down…I don’t know in what dream world you are living. There probably is a waiting list to fill 2 Emirates, so why would Arsenal sell them cheaper ?

  4. Chris

    I agree.

    I have been saying for ages that I don’t get all this complaining about ticket prices, the corporate invasion and the moving around of matches times and now locations

    This was all entirely predictable, and in fact un avoidable..

    Now when I say this I’m not trying to ‘have a go’ at any ‘one’ or ‘group’ in particular, or even suggesting it doesn’t affect and or upset some people. I am just saying that surely anybody with half an eye could see this coming.

    I said a few months ago how everyone laughed when the oil money arrived and it trampled all over Arsenal. What fun that was. But now the consequences of embracing such ludicrous amounts of investment are coming home to roost. Investment levels that were way way above a level that could be sustained by the natural levels of turnover within the game were always going to cause problems.

    If people were going to keep up with this artificially inflated level of finance they were going to have to find other ways of raising their turnovers.

    And surprise surprise that involves raising ticket prices, embracing corporate investment and support, and selling their very sole to the TV company’s .

    I don’t doubt for one minute many of the people moaning about ticket prices and moving games to the USA are the same people who screamed ‘spend the ****ing money” when a player they liked came on the market.

    And as for tickets, I have been on the waiting list for 10 years and was recently told I was at least 5 years from an offer of a ticket.

    Whether a) I’m even able to get to the stadium from where I now live or b) I can still afford it orc) I’m even still alive, are all questions I will have to answer when I get an offer, or in c’s case alas they wont even get an answer!!!.

    One thing is for certain. If I don’t take up Arsenals offer of a ticket, somebody else will step in to my place, however much it costs.

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