Investment firm Sixth Street is launching a new company to host annual U.S. competitions between European soccer’s biggest clubs.
The Soccer Champions Tour’s 2023 schedule features Real Madrid and Barcelona (clubs in which Sixth Street has invested), plus AC Milan, Juventus, Arsenal and Manchester United—all of which rank among the world’s 15 most valuable soccer teams. Legends, part of the Sixth Street portfolio, will serve as the tour’s commercial partner, monetizing the games via merchandise, premium hospitality and sponsorship sales; AEG will assist with technical operations and logistics.
The group is looking to capitalize on the growing global popularity of elite European soccer, particularly in the U.S., the world’s largest and most developed sports market. Over time, Soccer Champions Tour plans to expand to include women’s clubs and youth competitions.
“We are proud to be partnering with the world’s most storied clubs, which have the world’s strongest and most passionate supporters, to provide this rare opportunity for American fans to experience the game at the highest level,” Sixth Street co-founder and CEO Alan Waxman said in a statement.
The eight-game tour will open July 22, with Barcelona and Juventus playing at Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers. It will end on Aug. 2, when Juventus and Real Madrid face off in Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Barcelona and Real Madrid will play on July 29 at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
The new company joins an increasingly crowded slate of summer tours for elite European clubs, which utilize the offseason from their domestic leagues to play in front of fans in key markets in both Asia and the Americas. While players and executives have criticized the packed calendar, American fans have rushed for tickets. Chelsea’s July 19 game in North Carolina against Netflix darling Wrexham, for example, sold out in four days earlier this year.
This is just the latest push into soccer for Sixth Street, which invested into both Real Madrid and Barcelona in 2022. It also owns the new NWSL expansion franchise in the San Francisco Bay Area, leading a group that will spend $125 million over the next few years to get the team off the ground.
Legends was valued at $1.35 billion when Sixth Street bought its controlling stake in January 2021. The company’s original backers include the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees.
This Soccer Champions Tour is completely independent from the tour of the same name run in previous years by AEG.