UC Berkeley is kicking preparations into gear for the match between soccer clubs Real Madrid and Inter Milan set to be held July 26 at Memorial Stadium.
Announced in May, the game is part of the Guinness International Champions Cup, which pits eight top soccer teams against each other in a tournament played across the United States and Canada. Cal Athletics is currently collaborating with various city and campus organizations to coordinate the match. Aside from ticket sales, preparations include tightening security and working with a liquor-licensed vendor to provide beer at the game.
According to Ashwin Puri, associate athletic director for business revenue, Cal Athletics will set up and break down the event, which will include installing real grass on Kabam Field during the week of the game. Cal Athletics is also selling tickets on behalf of Relevent Sports, which organized the match.
Puri expects the tickets will sell out, given the success of sales so far, but Carole Love, director of communications at UC Berkeley’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, said she could not disclose the exact amount of ticket sales.
Both Cal Athletics and UCPD urge fans to use public transportation, especially since a shuttle from the Downtown Berkeley BART station to the stadium will be available on game day. The campus’s parking and transportation department, however, has reserved some parking lots.
In terms of safety, Cal Athletics is working with both UCPD and Berkeley Police Department to manage the event outside the stadium. UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode said he anticipates that security for the game will be a little more challenging than usual because the fan base may not be as familiar with the stadium or the city.
Unlike regular football games, there will be full pat-down searches at all of the stadium gates for drugs, alcohol or weapons.
Cal Dining has already started preparation for the event, as it is securing vendors, putting in food orders and training staff. According to Lucky Vasquez, director of retail operations, traditional football game fare will be sold, including hot dogs, sausages and chicken strips, with one new addition — beer.
Love called this a “six-figure opportunity for the university.” According to Love, money from tickets, parking, merchandise and concessions could potentially generate eight to 10 times the $100,000 licensing fee guarantee.
From the total, $25,000 will also go into UC Berkeley’s general academic scholarship fund, and the rest will primarily go toward athletics programs, Love said.
Relevent Sports CEO Charlie Stillitano looks forward to similar deals, and talk has already begun about potentially bringing a team to play at Memorial Stadium for next year’s International Champions Cup.
“Unquestionably, we feel like it’s a real partnership with the university, and we absolutely will bring games back in the future,” he said.