By Katherine Peralta and Brendan Marks
Relevent Sports Group, which operates and promotes the International Champions Cup soccer exhibition, will announce Tuesday that it has picked Charlotte to host this year’s House of Soccer on July 19 and 20.
The fan fest is expected to draw tens of thousands of people to Romare Bearden Park. In years past, the star-studded event has included appearances by celebrities such as Drake, Odell Beckham Jr. and Nicki Minaj.
Relevent will also announce that it has signed a five-year deal with Bank of America Stadium to host professional international soccer matches in Charlotte. It’s Relevent’s first long-term deal with any host city.
Boosting bid for MLS team
Daniel Sillman, Relevent’s CEO, told the Observer that the announcements underscore the support for professional soccer in Charlotte, bolstering the city’s bid for a Major League Soccer team.
“I think, to be honest with you, they’re really using us in a good way. This is what we’re here for as partners, to prove what they can do in the sport,” Sillman said.
“Our five-year deal, their aggressiveness pitching us to bring House of Soccer to Charlotte versus another city — all these are proving grounds for World Cup, for MLS and all their other plans.”
40,000 soccer fans
The first House of Soccer in Miami in 2017 drew 40,000 fans, and Relevent is hoping for a similar turnout this year in Charlotte.
One major factor working in Charlotte’s favor, according to Sillman, is the proximity of Bank of America Stadium to other uptown entertainment and transit.
“What makes Charlotte so compelling is the support of the club, the support of the city, but also the unique logistics that put the stadium so close to the actual attendees,” Sillman said.
Charlotte’s House of Soccer will include live music, food trucks, a Bud Light beer garden, gaming stations and other entertainment. Country singer Walker Hayes will be performing during House of Soccer, and more acts and celebrities will be announced in the coming weeks.
Relevent would not disclose financial terms of its five-year ICC deal with Charlotte. Sillman said that Relevent invests “a couple million dollars” to host House of Soccer each year.
For more details, visit The Charlotte Observer.