If there is one club football fixture that has the world watching, it must be the El Clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Only a handful of matches even come close to attracting as much attention as the game between the two Spanish giants. One of them is the Manchester derby between City and United, as the rivalry between the two splits the city down the middle.
Football fans in the US will be able to see both matches live as the International Champions Cup (ICC) returns this summer to the US, Singapore and China.
The competition kicks off with the mouth-watering clash between Paris St Germain and Roma on July 19 in Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan, before moving to Houston in Texas for the Manchester derby a day later.
It will be the first time that United and City go head-to-head outside England, with a planned game in Beijing last year having to be called off due to torrential rain in the Chinese capital.
City’s chief executive Ferran Sortiano said their club is looking forward to playing the game in front of a capacity 72,000 fans in the NRG Stadium.
“The Manchester derby is one of the world’s most iconic games. We are very excited to play it in front of our passionate American fans. There are so many great memories from this game in history and we can’t wait to create some new ones in Houston.”
The El Clásico takes place in Miami on July 29, in what will be the third game for both clubs in this years’ competition.
The only other time the game was played outside Spain was 36 years ago, when Venezuela hosted the two teams.
Real Madrid legend Emilio Butragueno said he was confident locals would flock to the stadium. “We are fully aware of how passionate people are about futbol in Miami.”
The other clubs participating in the US leg of the ICC are Serie A teams Juventus and Roma as well as PSG and Tottenham Hotspur.
In China, AC Milan will take on Bundesliga opposition in the form of champions Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, who finished third in the league this season and have just unveiled former Ajax coach Peter Bosz as their new man in charge.
In between the two Bundesliga v Serie A matches, Arsenal will have an opportunity to extract some revenge on Bayern for a bruising 10-2 aggregate defeat they suffered at the hands at the German club in the knock-out stages of the Champions League this season.
Bayern Munich will also be playing in the Singapore leg of the competition, where they will be joined by Chelsea and Inter Milan, with the three teams playing a round-robin tournament, with each club facing each other once.
Football fans outside the three countries that are hosting the ICC, however do not have to despair as they will have an opportunity to see the game live on TV.
All matches of the tournament will be broadcasted exclusively and live on StarTimes’ 5 sport channels.
Sports Director of the StarTimes Media Division, Cole He Xin, said that the company had been eager to secure the rights for the ICC. “With clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United participating, it does not get any bigger and I for one will be making sure my diary is free that I can watch as many of the games as possible.
“And I am sure African football fans will do the same.”
StarTimes is ICC tournament’s exclusive broadcaster for Sub-Saharan Africa. StarTimes will also broadcast all FIFA tournaments in 2017-2018, including Russia 2018 World Cup.
StarTimes is the leading digital-TV operator in Africa, serving nearly 10 million subscribers and covering 90% of the continent’s population with a massive distribution network of 200 brand halls, 3,000 convenience stores and 5,000 distributors.
StarTimes owns a featured content platform, with 480 authorized channels consisting of news, movies, series, sports, entertainment, children’s programs, fashion, religion etc.
The company’s vision is “To enable every African family to afford and enjoy digital TV” StarTimes achieves this by combining satellite and terrestrial DTV systems to provide an open and secure digital wireless platform.
The company provides a robust signal transmission service for public and private broadcasters, offers consumers outstanding Pay-TV programs, mobile multimedia, wireless Internet connectivity and convenient online services including checking TV guide; watching free live football ; chatting with celebrities and friends.