Liverpool Chairman Envisions Premier League Matches in New York

Premier League in New York? Liverpool Chairman Pushes for International Matches

by Faruk Imamovic
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Liverpool Chairman Envisions Premier League Matches in New York
© Getty Images/Julian Finney

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has a vision: to see a Premier League match played in New York City and potentially host fixtures in various locations around the world. While there are no concrete plans for in-season matches to take place outside of England at this time, there is a growing interest among American broadcasters to make this a reality.

NBC Sports, which holds exclusive broadcasting rights for the Premier League in the United States under a $2.7 billion deal spanning 2022-2028, is a key advocate for this idea. Jon Miller, a leading executive at NBC Sports stated he would "love to see" Premier League games played in the U.S. and vowed to "continue to push for" this change.

An Ambitious Proposal

Tom Werner shared his ambitious vision with the Financial Times, outlining a future where the Premier League could host games in multiple international cities on the same day. "I’m determined one day to have a Premier League game be played in New York City," Werner declared. He elaborated on his "crazy idea" of a global football celebration, with matches taking place sequentially in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, and Riyadh.

Aware of potential backlash from local supporters, Werner suggested offering affordable flights and accommodation to ensure that fans can travel to these international games. This proposal aims to maintain the connection between teams and their dedicated fan bases while expanding the league's global reach.

However, not everyone within Liverpool's ownership shares Werner's enthusiasm. John Henry, Liverpool’s owner, expressed his reservations in the same interview, stating that he does not advocate for or hold much interest in the idea of playing a game in New York.

Pre-Season Tours and the Summer Series

Premier League clubs have already been making regular trips to the U.S. for pre-season tours. This summer, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Arsenal are scheduled to play friendly matches against each other on American soil. These tours have proven popular, drawing large crowds and showcasing the Premier League to an eager American audience.

Last summer also saw the launch of the Premier League Summer Series in the U.S., featuring Chelsea, Brighton & Hove Albion, Brentford, Newcastle United, Fulham, and Aston Villa. These matches were hosted across various American cities, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Orlando, New Jersey, and Maryland. Despite its initial success, the Summer Series will not take place this year due to logistical challenges. However, organizers are optimistic about reviving the series in 2025.

Liverpool Chairman Envisions Premier League Matches in New York
Liverpool Chairman Envisions Premier League Matches in New York© Getty Images/Michael Regan
 

UEFA’s Global Ambitions

The idea of hosting competitive European football matches in the U.S. is not limited to the Premier League. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has also entertained the notion of holding Champions League matches in the U.S. and has proposed replacing the UEFA Super Cup with an opening tournament held outside of Europe.

This concept gained further momentum after FIFA settled a lawsuit with events promoter Relevent, which had attempted to bring a La Liga match to Miami in 2018. FIFA is now considering revising its regulations to permit hosting matches outside traditional jurisdictions, opening the door for more international fixtures.

Mixed Reactions from the Football Community

The prospect of Premier League matches being played abroad has elicited mixed reactions from the football community. In an interview, former USMNT manager and Premier League star Jurgen Klinsmann weighed in on the debate. Speaking with Premier League all-time leading goalscorer Alan Shearer, Klinsmann acknowledged the concerns of traditional fans who might feel alienated by such moves.

“Obviously for us traditional fans, it’s really difficult to take,” Klinsmann said. “It would feel like you robbed the game from the English fans, and I totally understand that. On the other hand, the business world is moving on, whether we want it to or not. It’s not our decision, it’s the owners’ decision about how they compete with the other big leagues.”

Klinsmann noted that while some may feel that football has strayed too far from its roots, reversing this trend is virtually impossible. The sport, he argued, is inexorably linked to the global business landscape, and adaptation is a necessary part of remaining competitive.

The Future of Premier League Expansion

The idea of hosting Premier League matches in cities such as New York, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro is both tantalizing and contentious. Advocates like Tom Werner and Jon Miller see it as a way to expand the league's global footprint and connect with fans worldwide. Critics, however, fear it may erode the traditional fan experience and diminish the local culture that makes English football unique.

While the debate continues, one thing is clear: the business of football is evolving, and the Premier League must navigate this complex landscape to balance tradition with global ambition. Whether or not Werner's vision becomes a reality, the conversation around international matches will undoubtedly shape the future of the league.

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