Saturday, July 17, 2004

ChampionsWorld Series (US Tour 2004)

It's like having the the New York Yankees of every country in Europe lined-up to play each other in a miniature tournament.  Most teams are jam-packed with superstars and it's just a rare treat to get a chance to see one of your favorite teams play on U.S. soil.  The teams are *good* and their stars are *big* and their club histories are *long* and storied.

Check out the teams that are here this year: AC MilanAS RomaBayern MunichCelticChelsea, FC Porto, Galatasary, Liverpool, Manchester United.
Definitely check out a game if they come to a city near you:
To give you an idea of how important these clubs are, in terms of reach and influence, FutureBrand had this to say:

Manchester United is currently slotted between two NFL franchises--the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins--as the second most valuable sports brand in the world. (The Yankees are fourth; the next two-highest soccer clubs are Spanish power Real Madrid at six and Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga at seven.)

And this, you have to remember, is a team in a country (Great Britain) with a population of only 60 million.  That's a lot for an not-so-large island nation, but it's not a lot compared to the size of, say, the US population, where the Dallas Cowboys (a.k.a.  America's Team) play - at 293 million.
Speaking of FutureBrand, a sport-branding-type company based in London, check out this PDF report on the top brands of European football - I think it's the nicest report on anything I've ever seen in my life.  Unreal.
And I had to steal some of the quotes out of it and list them here - they're just too darn good and they're so darn interesting (and funny!) because they give you an idea of just how intimate the relationship between football fans and the sport can be, especially in Europe.  The passion!  [Check out some of the names.  Totally cool!]
“Football is not about life or death, it’s more important than that”
-- Bill Shankly
“All human history moves towards one great goal”
-- James Joyce
“In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team”
-- Jean-Paul Sartre
“Each succeeds in reaching the desired goal by a different method”
-- Niccolo Machiavelli
“It is not just a simple game.  It is a weapon of revolution”
-- Che Guevara

“My idea of paradise is a straight line to goal”
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

To make things more interesting, Malcolm Glazer, U.S. entrepreneur and owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, just upped his stake in Man U to near 20%.  This funky comingling of top-brand teams from both sides of the pond reminds me of a marketing deal Man U did with the Skankees a couple of years ago.  Where from here?

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