Melbourne will host International Champions Cup (ICC) matches until 2018, after the Victorian state government agreed a new contract with the organisers of the annual pre-season soccer tournament.
The new-three year deal was announced by Football Federation Australia (FFA) on Monday following the conclusion of this year’s edition of the ICC, which was contested by European giants AS Roma, Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
An article on the FFA’s website said a reported AUS$150 million (US$110 million) had been paid to secure the new contract.
“We’re strengthening our major events calendar to keep our state strong,” said Victoria’s sports minister John Eren. “The cup will be great for fans and great for businesses. Securing it will help grow tourism, jobs and showcase our state to the world.”
According to reports in Australia, state authorities in New South Wales had been attempting to lure the Australian leg of the ICC to Sydney in light of the tournament’s success. Some 99,832 fans turned out to watch Real Madrid thump Manchester City last Friday.
Organised by Relevent Sports, a division of US company RSE Ventures, the ICC is now widely considered the world’s leading pre-season soccer tournament, with many of Europe’s biggest teams having taken part since its formation in 2013. This year the tournament expanded into Australia and China for the first time.