There’s one other post I want to make before tonight, and it’s not about NASL or Indy Eleven, at least not directly.
It’s about the International Champions Cup.
With Chelsea and Inter Milan.
It’s hard to overstate how big a deal this is. Now granted, it’s just a preseason match for the two teams. But even preseason matches are huge business for European soccer teams, because they typically travel to several overseas locations and draw huge crowds who otherwise can’t see teams of this caliber. And even if you want to argue that MLS sides are approaching EPL sides in quality (which is both technically true and exaggerated), there’s no denying that teams of this caliber are far bigger in audience and impact.
Hosting this match in Indianapolis is a huge deal. Bigger cities — typically with a large expat contingent — will regularly sell out matches like this. Indy probably won’t; soccer is just not that big a priority for most residents. But whether or not the stadium is sold out, it will be very interesting to see how full it is, and what the atmosphere is like. If the vibe is exciting, the word of mouth will be a better advertisement for soccer than anything the Eleven can do on their own.
Of course I’ll be there. The rooting interest is a major issue. I’ve watched plenty of EPL action, so I know most of the Chelsea players. And yet I’m an Arsenal fan so there’s No. Frickin. Way. I can root for Chelsea. Inter isn’t the same team they’ve been before; they’ve had an age problem to deal with, and have been more of a mid-table team recently. But they’re still Internazionale, and they’re not Berlusconi’s team, so that’s enough for me. So while I don’t know Inter all that well, I will be pulling for them to give the business to Mourinho’s petrodollar-fueled minions.
But while I have a rooting interest (tenuous as it is), I won’t be very vocal about it. My wife and I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale, and got great seats. But while she’ll be there, I won’t be sitting with her. The Eleven hooked me up with a media pass, so I’ll be on the sidelines, shooting the game. So first, I’ll try to be professional about it, and secondly, I’ll be pretty busy.
I’ll report back as soon as possible on how it all goes. At the least I should have some photos to share. Hopefully some good stories will come too. Wish me luck!