UC Berkeley will host a match between two international soccer clubs this summer, campus officials and event organizers announced at a press conference Friday.
Real Madrid C.F. and F.C. Internazionale Milano, two globally recognized soccer teams based in Spain and Italy, respectively, will play at Memorial Stadium on July 26 as part of the Guinness International Champions Cup, a summer tournament that will include eight prominent soccer teams from around the world. The event is expected to broadcast in more than 150 countries, including the United States.
“It’s a unique opportunity to bring two of the world’s biggest soccer clubs to the world’s leading public university,” said John Wilton, vice chancellor for administration and finance, in a press release. Wilton said 25 percent of the money from the $100,000 guaranteed licensing fee for the match will go toward academic scholarships for low-income UC Berkeley students.
Both Real Madrid and Inter Milan have won multiple domestic and European titles and boast world-class players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Javier Zanetti. The tournament precedes the fall season for the teams.
While Memorial Stadium has been the site of numerous campus football games, Cal Athletics Director Sandy Barbour said this is the first time that the stadium has held an event of international caliber.
Charlie Stillitano, CEO of Relevent Sports — which organized the match — visited Memorial Stadium while looking for venues to host the match.
“When we (Relevent Sports) saw the renovations, I had no idea what a spectacular place this was,” Stillitano said. “I saw it, and I said (to my colleagues), ‘Wake up, guys, we have a world-class facility here.’ ”
Barbour said real grass will be installed on Kabam Field for the match and then removed and donated to a local facility.
Memorial Stadium, which was first built about 90 years ago, was reopened in August 2012 after the completion of a 21-month project to renovate the stadium’s facilities and to improve its seismic safety. The stadium has since hosted university football games, athletic facilities and academic classrooms and laboratories.
Wilton said the event will bring in additional revenue and employment for the summer session, which has typically been slow for both the university and the city. The university is Berkeley’s largest employer, according to a statistical and economic profile released by the city.
The match is the third event of the tournament, which starts July 24 and will culminate in a final match in Miami on Aug. 4. Real Madrid won the cup last summer in the inaugural season of the tournament, beating out British soccer team Chelsea.
Tickets for the match, which will start at $45, will be available for purchase for UC Berkeley students and faculty 12 p.m. Wednesday and available to the general public Friday.