European giants Real Madrid and Juventus are among eight clubs who are scheduled to take part in the first edition of the tournament-style International Champions Cup in the US starting in July.
Spanish giants Real and Italian champions Juventus will be joined by Inter and Major League Soccer’s the Los Angeles Galaxy, tournament organizers said on Tuesday.
The US has become a leading destination for European clubs to play lucrative pre-season friendly tours, but the eight-team tournament, which will be held at venues across the nation, promises to add a competitive edge.
RSE Ventures say the tournament will differ from traditional pre-season friendlies by using a knock-out format and offering significant prize money.
Seven-times European champions AC Milan, Turkish club Galatasaray and two leading English Premier League clubs are understood to be in talks aimed at joining the tournament.
A television deal has been struck with Fox Soccer Channel in the US with worldwide broadcasting deals expected.
“What is different is that this is a real tournament. Obviously in the past we have had friendly matches and some have been very successful,” Charlie Stillitano, chief executive of Relevant Sports, RSE’s soccer division, told reporters.
“We are trying to bring a bit of that Champions League magic to pre-season. We know it is not the Champions League but managers have told us they can’t go through pre-season playing games that mean nothing,” he said.