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English Premier League Games in Chicago?

By Todd McClamroch in News on Feb 15, 2008 3:15PM

2008_02_14_beckham.jpgLast week the English Premier League announced its intention to play some regular season matches abroad. In previous years, international club teams have found financial success by coming to the United States to play some pre- and post-season friendlies with other international powerhouse clubs or local Major League Soccer clubs.

The EPL has obviously realized the potential of taking the league to a new level by playing a select few league games in North America and Asia.

Our friend over at Londonist, Duncan Young, asked us whether we Yanks even knew who Arsenal or Chelsea were. The answer is yes. Although the sport does not garner the level of support that our major three sports do, it does have a strong following, especially in major metropolitan cities. And how could we not know about the English Premier League with ESPN's love of the Beckham-cam that followed the former Manchester United star's every move in the States last summer?

Chicagoist would put soccer (er, football) fans in the States in three categories. The first is the balanced soccer fan who enjoys Major League Soccer and international soccer. This fan will watch their local team live, then head to their local pub to catch their favorite international club on TV. The second group is fans of the sport who follow international soccer leagues but don't believe in the value of the American league. The third is fans who enjoy Major League Soccer but for one reason or another have never found interest in soccer beyond our borders.

Here in Chicago, we're home to two soccer pubs that were selected as finalists for the 2007 Soccer Pub of the Year by U.S. Soccer. Most Saturdays and Sundays the Globe Pub and Ginger's Ale House will open early to cater to fans of the English Premier League who are happy to rise at 6am to catch their favorite team playing live. Exhibitions between international club teams have faired well here in Chicago and in other cities across the country.

Games that have English Premier League standing implications would be a hot ticket to the Chicago area and fans in surrounding cities. Chicagoist hopes that Chicago is selected as a host city for a future regular season English Premier League game.

Photo from Flickr (Chicagoist_todd)