La Liga and Relevent Sports remain confident that their plans to move a regular season game to the United States will prove to be successful, and more importantly, approved.
“I’m not certain but I’m optimistic,” Charlie Stillitano, Relevent’s executive chairman, according to ESPN FC. “We have every desire to do it and La Liga has given us every indication that they want to do it. We are trying to be respectful to everyone involved. We’re confident that it can happen and we are just taking a wait-and-see attitude because they have to get all the permissions from the league side first before we can do anything.”
La Liga president Javier Tebas shares that same confidence regarding the game and he plans to meet with Spanish Footballers’ Association (AFE) president David Aganzo next week.
“We know it’s a complicated issue but we are working so that it can materialise and I think it will be done,” Tebas said, according to Onda Cero radio. “The AFE agreement will not be achieved via a financial compensation.”
With the threat of a potential player’s strike lingering, Tebas doesn’t see a reason for it.
“With the wage control we have implemented, it has raised [players’] salaries by 66 percent,” Tebas explained.
“Many La Liga teams have offered to play in the United States,” Tebas said. “It’s an important opportunity for them and it’s not an obligation to play in the United States, it’s voluntary — only the clubs that want to go will do so. What we are looking to do is to enter and place ourselves in the American market, which is very important.”
Tebas has ruled out Real Madrid and Barcelona playing a home game overseas and has also ruled out the possibility of playing more than one game per season in the United States.
“It’s not viable that the home team of that game that will be played overseas will be a team that has a huge social mass following,” Tebas said. “I can assure you that in the next five years, only one game will be played annually in the United States.”
Stillitano has applauded La Liga and hopes that other’s will follow their lead in expanding their brands globally.
“La Liga has been consistently for the past 10 years, and the Spanish national team, have been amongst the best in the world, so for them to build their brand outside of Spain is a smart thing,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s going to come back to benefit La Liga.
“The Premier League is far and away the No. 1 commercial league on the planet and the only thing that rivals it is the NBA and the NFL, realistically. And they are in an enviable position. … But you could see Serie A or Ligue 1 [doing it]. There have been leagues that have expressed interest to us and they have said they think what La Liga is doing is really good to expand football over here.”