Apr 9, 2014

Manchester United to Play Galaxy at Rose Bowl

By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times

April 8, 2014, 10:00 a.m.

English soccer giant Manchester United will meet the Galaxy in a July 23 friendly at the Rose Bowl.

The match will be the first in the team’s summer tour of the United States, and it will also mark the first time the team will wear its Chevrolet-branded kits. General Motors paid a record $560 million over seven years to place the Chevy name and bow-tie logo on the team’s uniform.

United, which has won 13 of 21 English titles decided during the Premier League era, will be in the U.S. to compete in the International Champions Cup, a tournament that debuted last year and included two games at Dodger Stadium.

The eight-team field for this summer’s event, which kicks off July 24 in New York, includes Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid in addition to United and will feature an Aug. 2 game between United and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid at the University of Michigan’s 109,000-seat football stadium.

The tournament will not be returning to Southern California in 2014, which will likely make the Rose Bowl match with the Galaxy the highest-profile international club friendly to be played here this year.

“Playing [the] Galaxy at the world-famous Rose Bowl will be an important part of the team’s preparations for the 2014-15 season,” Richard Arnold, Manchester United’s group managing director, said in a news release. “The club has been visiting Los Angeles since 1950 and this match provides a great opportunity for us to engage with our fans in this region.

“Our previous matches against MLS opposition have proved popular with fans and players alike and we are delighted to be returning to the U.S.”

United claims to be the world’s most popular sports team, with more than 650 million fans globally. Last season alone, United earned more than $241 million from commercial deals including merchandise, sponsorship and licensing, according to Deloitte Football Money League.

What’s interesting about the Chevy deal, however -- other than that it has been cited as one of the reasons Joel Ewanick was pushed out as head of General Motors’ global marketing operation -- is that 16 months after the agreement was announced in July 2012, the company said it was pulling the Chevy brand out of Europe by the end of 2015.

The deal may still prove to be a winner for General Motors though, because United claims that half its fans are in the Asia-Pacific region. China is now GM’s third-largest market, behind the U.S. and Brazil.

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