Liverpool, Man United set opponents
Liverpool will play Manchester City, AC Milan and Olimpiakos during a preseason U.S. exhibition tour, and Manchester United will face Inter Milan and Roma.
Liverpool open against Olimpiakos on July 27 at Chicago's Soldier Field as part of Group B in the eight-club Guinness International Champions Cup, organisers said on Thursday. The Reds face Manchester City at New York's Yankee Stadium on July 30 and AC Milan on Aug. 2 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., home of the NFL's Carolina Panthers.
United play Roma at Denver's Sports Authority Field on July 26, then meet Inter Milan on July 29 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. Group A also includes Real Madrid.
This will be the seventh U.S. trip for Liverpool, who are owned by Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of the Boston Red Sox.
"Touring from a business perspective and a commercial standpoint, it's incredibly important,'' Liverpool chief commercial officer Billy Hogan said during a news conference in Charlotte. "It's something we do to try to bring the club closer to our fan base. We have hundreds of millions of fans around the world from the U.S. to Asia. Not everybody gets a chance to get to see where we play in Liverpool. It's a 3,800-mile flight. So we're excited to bring the first team out here.''
Some stars may not be available for the matches, depending on when their national teams are eliminated from the World Cup.
Games also will be played in Arlington, Texas; Glendale, Ariz.; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; and one additional city from July 24-Aug. 2. The final will be on Aug. 4 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The match in Charlotte will be the first sporting event at Bank of America Stadium after it completes a 112.5 million dollar renovation. The city agreed to pay part of the renovation cost in exchange for the Panthers hosting five rent-free events annually over the next six years.
"Our ultimate goal with getting international soccer here was to secure an event that has a strong potential for significant economic impact,'' Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon said. "The teams announced here today can certainly help us achieve that.''
Cannon said Liverpool's visit to Boston and Fenway Park in 2012 generated 9.4 million dollars in visitor spending.
Cannon wants to attract more football games to Charlotte's stadium, which was completed in 1996 and was built with sightlines for American football and football in mind.
"Bringing two high-caliber teams here is something our soccer community will treasure and remember for the rest of their lives,'' Cannon said.
Liverpool, led by midfielder Steven Gerrard and forward Luis Suarez, have 18 league championships -- but none since 1990 -- and five European Cups. AC Milan have won 18 Serie A championships and seven European Cups.