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Barcelona to Stage Women’s El Clasico in US

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LaLiga giants Barcelona are planning to play a women’s El Clasico against rivals Real Madrid in the United States, according to the club’s chief commercial officer Sergi Ricart.

The disclosure came ahead of the second men’s El Clasico played on July 23 in the United States in the Soccer Champions Tour at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The two men’s teams previously met in El Clasico Miami in July 2017 as part of Relevent Sports’ International Champions Cup.

El Clasico

In March, Barcelona Femini drew a world record 91,553 crowd for a women’s soccer match during their 5-2 win against Real Madrid at the Nou Camp to reach the Uefa Women’s Champions League semi-finals.

The sellout crowd surpassed the previous-best mark of 90,185 for the 1999 Women’s World Cup final between the United States and China at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

The previous highest attendance for a women’s club game was set in 2019 when Atletico Madrid’s women’s team drew 60,739 fans for a league match against FC Barcelona at the then Wanda Metropolitano.

A women’s El Clasico in the US is likely to be hugely successful due to the immense popularity of women’s soccer in the country, as well as the global reach of the El Clasico.

“Everything is changing rapidly. We know how powerful women’s soccer is in the United States,” Ricart told SportBusiness.

“What if we expand the Clasico definition and bring both women’s teams to the United States and create that Clasico? We will look to explore that in the future.”

Barcelona Femini are not taking part in either of the two international women’s club tournaments in the United States this summer – the women’s ICC in Portland, Oregon, and The Women’s Cup in Louisville, Kentucky.

Instead, the team is participating in the Amos Women’s French Cup in Toulouse, France.

Ricart said the decision not to come to the United States was based on the staging of the Uefa’s women’s European Championship in England this summer, as well as the strength of the Amos Women’s French Cup.

“You will see the female team coming hopefully soon to the US,” Ricart said.

Barcelona had tentative plans to establish a sister side in the National Women’s Soccer League to gain a more established presence in the US football landscape. According to Ricart, those plans were shelved to ensure that Barcelona Femini would become “the best female team in the world.”

Ricart added that he hopes that a men’s El Clasico will be staged regularly in the States going forwards, though it depends on the demands of the global soccer calendar in the coming years, and the international strategies of both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

“There’s nothing like an El Clasico, it’s a rivalry that transcends football. It was a massive success in Miami and it’s amazing to bring the El Clasico passion and rivalry to a place like Vegas,” Ricart said. “We at Barcelona would like to explore the possibility of staging an El Clasico in the United States regularly.

“It’s something that has to be aligned with Real but I feel like it’s a real possibility. More to come, we’re having this conversation with Real. There could be other global markets but the United States is a priority for us and Real Madrid,” he said.

Barcelona remains open to the possibility of staging an official LaLiga game in the States, Ricart added, though this depends on the proposal being given the green light by all the various stakeholders.

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