The World's Game In The Heart of the Sun Belt

Atlanta Soccer Challenge ticket discount ending

The early-bird discount for tickets to the Atlanta International Soccer Challenge ends on Sunday, June 6.

Through midnight Sunday, individual tickets to the July 28 match at the Georgia Dome between Club América and Manchester may be purchased for $25.

Starting on Monday, tickets will be priced between $40 and $115 each.

Discounted tickets can be ordered online via Ticketmaster, while Georgia Soccer is handling group ticket requests.

The AISC match will be the third soccer friendly to be staged at the Dome, following last summer’s matches pitting the Mexican national team against Mexico, and Club América vs. AC Milan.

Each of those matches drew more than 50,000 spectators, boosting Atlanta’s efforts to be included in the U.S. Soccer Federation’s bid for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

This summer’s event is designed to boost Atlanta’s spectator soccer profile further. Atlanta is one of 18 American cities included in the U.S. bid.

FIFA will determine host nations for both World Cups in December.

June 4, 2010   No Comments

International soccer returns to Georgia Dome

What’s been rumored for several weeks was made official today: Soccer is returning to the Georgia Dome this summer.

For the second time in as many summers, the home of the Falcons will play host to an international friendly, this time on July 28, pitting Club América of Mexico against Manchester City of the English Premier League.

It’s formally called the Atlanta International Soccer Challenge, and for a time tickets are a (comparatively) cheap $25 a head. If you wait until late June (with World Cup frenzy heating up) the tickets start at $40.

So welcome, Atlanta, to the expensive international soccer friendly tour.

I only mean that partially tongue-in-cheek, because it’s another audition for Atlanta as a World Cup venue with FIFA due to decide on the 2018 and 2022 events later this year.

On Friday, the U.S. Soccer Federation formally sends its World Cup bid to FIFA on Friday, and that package includes Atlanta not only playing host to games but also to be the site for the World Cup international broadcasting center.

It’s a feature that Gary Stokan, head of the Atlanta bid organizing committee, has been discussing for nearly a year.

Here’s more on the Atlanta bid.

The game features a returnee from last year’s World Football Challenge. Club América, one of the most popular teams in Mexico, will face Manchester City, which has splashed out nearly $300 million in new players since being purchased by an Abu Dhabi conglomerate last year.

Yet City managed to finish only fifth in the Premier League, three points short of earning place in the European Champions League qualifying.

By the time of its American tour, City may well be going through another major makeover. Briefly put, this club is one of the big soap operas of global soccer, and there’s no telling who’s going to make the trip or even take the pitch at the Georgia Dome.

So think about that before you open your wallet.

The idea, of course, is to support spectator soccer in Atlanta, which has had a checkered history of support. Crowds of more than 50,000 turned out for each of the games at the Georgia Dome last year, and a similar draw is likely.

The first big international soccer match in Atlanta also involved Manchester City, which came over to play the Atlanta Chiefs in 1968. That was the last year City won an English top-flight title, while the Chiefs won the inaugural North American Soccer League crown that year.

Over at The Global Game, his most excellent site on soccer and culture, my friend John Turnbull writes about when soccer contagion first hit Atlanta.

May 12, 2010   1 Comment