UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: The July 21 Manchester United vs. San Jose Earthquakes game will be played at Avaya Stadium in San Jose rather than Cal Memorial Stadium, according to Wesley Mallette, Associate AD, Strategic Communications for Cal Athletics. Mallette confirmed UC Berkeley was informed today about the decision, made by Relevent Sports, organizers of the tournament. “We were informed that the change in venue was made in order to better meet Manchester United’s travel and logistical requirements,” he said in a statement Monday night. People who bought tickets to the original game will be issued a full refund and should expect their refund within 5-7 days, Mallette said, adding that specific details about refunds will be issued Tuesday. “We have been informed by the promoter that those who purchased tickets for the match in Berkeley will be eligible for a special pre-sale opportunity to purchase seats before they go on sale to the general public.”
ORIGINAL STORY: The Guinness International Champions Cup soccer game between English Premiership club Manchester United and local MLS team San Jose Earthquakes that was due to be played at Cal Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on Tuesday, July 21 will not be played in Berkeley, according to a staffer in the Berkeley City Manager’s office. The source said the decision was taken Monday.
A Cal Athletics spokesman confirmed that the decision was taken to move the high-profile game to another local venue. Cal Athletics plans to put out a statement Tuesday morning about the move, he said, which would include full details, including information for those who have bought tickets to the game.
A related community meeting that was to have taken place Monday evening at the Simpson Student-Athlete High Performance Center at the Memorial Stadium, has been canceled. The meeting was slated to discuss how UC Berkeley, the City of Berkeley and neighborhood associations would work together to minimize the impacts of the soccer game on the community.
The relocated game is part of the International Champions Cup, which brings eight great European squads for a round of so-called friendly matches in the U.S. The exhibition games help top European clubs get ready for their regular seasons. Last July, the Memorial Stadium hosted Inter Milan vs. Real Madrid (the Italians prevailed, beating Madrid after a penalty shoot-out).
Relevent Sports, a division of RSE Ventures, a multi-national sports and entertainment venture firm with a focus on new technologies, is the organizer of the game.
UC Berkeley counts on events like these to generate much-needed revenue from its property assets. Cal Memorial stadium, which was recently retrofitted and rebuilt at a cost of $321 million, and reopened in 2012, contains office and classroom space, and facilities for parties and conferences, as well as the Kabam Field, all of which are leveraged to raise money.
Last year’s Real Madrid vs. Inter Milan game was a sell-out, according to the Daily Californian, which reported an attendance of 62,583. Before that game, Carole Love, director of communications at UC Berkeley’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, said revenue from the game, which is sourced from ticket sales, concessions and parking, could potentially create as much as 10 times the $100,000 licensing fee guarantee.
Tickets for the Man U vs Earthquakes game range in price from $45 to $300.
The Earthquakes have a match against Club América at Avaya Stadium on July 14, and Man U is scheduled to play FC Barcelona at Levi’s Stadium on July 25 . Both games sold out in less than two weeks, according to Relevent Sports. The game between Manchester United and the Earthquakes was added to the Bay Area schedule “because of the region’s overwhelming interest in and support for soccer,” Relevent said when the Berkeley game was announced. At the time, Charlie Stillitano, Chairman of Relevent Sports, was quoted as saying: “We are thrilled to bring the International Champions Cup back to Berkeley for the second consecutive year, as Cal is a tremendous partner.”
Berkeleyside will provide more information as it becomes available.
Real Madrid to play Inter Milan on grass (!) at Cal (05.13.14)
Do you rely on Berkeleyside for your local news? You can support independent local journalism by becoming a Berkeleyside Member. You can choose either a monthly payment or a one-time contribution.