European soccer bosses have admitted they are “exploring different ideas” as behind-the-scenes discussions continue about bringing a revamped UEFA Super Cup to the United States.
Substantive talks are understood to have taken place over a four-team Super Cup to be played as a season-opening event in the US beginning in 2024, which could feature the Major League Soccer champions alongside the winners of all three UEFA men’s club competitions.
Nasser Al Khelaifi, who as well as being president of the European Club Association and chairman of Paris Saint-Germain is a member of UEFA’s executive committee, was asked if taking UEFA matches outside of Europe was beyond the pale. possible at the ECA General Assembly in Istanbul. on Friday.
He said: “We didn’t discuss the United States, specifically, we didn’t agree on anything basically. What we are trying to do is help grow and develop our competitions. We have the right to think about it, to explore different ideas and see what makes sense or doesn’t, but for today I can’t confirm anything.
“But why not look at all the opportunities we have to grow our clubs and our competitions?”
UEFA and the ECA see the US as a high-growth market. They have achieved a 150 percent increase in the value of their English-language broadcast rights in the US as part of their new commercial joint venture, compared to the current cycle.
That rights deal was brokered by Relevent, a company that had previously tried unsuccessfully to stage LaLiga regular season games in the US.
Ajax chief executive Edwin Van Der Sar, another ECA board member, also did not rule out the possibility of UEFA matches being staged abroad in the future.
The former Manchester United goalkeeper said: “You pretend it’s brand new or something like the games are played abroad.
“The Italian Super Cup and certain cup finals are also played in countries other than the country of origin. National associations and national leagues are already playing abroad in certain finals.
“I’m not sure how far the idea of UEFA or the ECA has gone, but of course it’s nothing new for certain matches to be played abroad.”
All options are being considered to attract families and fans to a revamped Super Cup, whether it’s staging the matches within a weekend festival or having pop performances before the games or at halftime.
They point out that other sports have successfully brought games to new markets, such as the NFL’s regular-season games in London.
Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali attended the General Assembly, and the ECA was keen to hear from other sports and companies about how they have generated new sources of revenue.
As well as selling broadcast rights, F1 is also selling countries the right to host its events, something the UEFA-ECA joint venture could consider with the Super Cup.
Al Khelaifi paid tribute to Domenicali in his speech to the Assembly, saying: “I remember the first time we met, I was inspired by his vision, his ideas and his project.
“You have made Formula 1 more than a sport. You have created a lifestyle and a brand. Entertainment is at the heart of everything you do. Formula 1 has an incredible leader. I’m sure we’ll be inspired by what he tells us later today.”
He added that the ECA’s relationship with F1 was evidence that the ACE was “open-minded and pushing ideas”.
He added: “We must always be creative and think outside the box; standing still is going backwards.”