NEW YORK — Across the U.S., baseball stadiums, more than ever before, are opening their doors to famous football (soccer) teams from around the world.
Yankee Stadium, in the Bronx, New York is home to one of the world’s greatest baseball teams, the New York Yankees. On July 22, the stadium will host a World Football Challenge match as European league champion Chelsea takes on Paris Saint-Germain. The game is one of 28 in North America as foreign clubs move to expand their fan base worldwide.
“What you are seeing is the globalization of the sport, and I think that has made the difference, and I also think that new technology has [made] the difference, because in the old days, when you had two or three of the soccer stars that were well known, you now have 50," explained Mark Holtzman, director of program development for the Yankees.
Yankee stadium is known for hosting special events such as boxing matches, the Pope and live entertainment. Head Groundskeeper Dan Cunningham says his 12-man team will transform the field.
"Basically we are just going to be taking down the mound and covering our infield skin. We are not sure, but we are anticipating about 36 hours to complete it,” Cunningham said.
The Football Challenge, featuring several international clubs and U.S. teams, will be staged over four weeks in many iconic baseball venues.