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The hottest ticket in St. Louis
by Paul Kennedy, by Ridge Mahoney, April 5th, 2013 10:03PM

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TAGS:  d.c. united, england, soccer business, television

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By Ridge Mahoney and Paul Kennedy

Cardinal red is the color seen at Busch Stadium in St. Louis when the hometown baseball team plays but the facility will turn blue in May.

Tickets for a Chelsea-Manchester City May 23 friendly sold out within 20 minutes after going on sale Wednesday. Capacity at Busch Stadium is 46,861 for the match, which is being co-promoted by the English clubs and the Cardinals, and is the first non-baseball event to be staged since the stadium opened in 2006. It falls just four days after the end of the Premier League season and will be rematch of the teams' FA Cup semifinal showdown April 14.

Manchester City chief commercial and operating officer said Tom Glick said: “We believe in U.S. soccer and we know how much passion the fans in North America have for the beautiful game. The club is committed to giving fans across the world the opportunity to get close to Manchester City FC.”

This will be City’s third U.S. visit in four years following tours in 2010 and 2011. Vicki Bryant, vice president of event services and merchandising for Cardinals, said: “This event is the hottest ticket in St. Louis. It is like a ticket to Game 7 of the World Series!”

Her statement is certainly a stretch, but a foreign-friendly selling out so quickly is clear evidence that this baseball-crazy town retains a soccer heritage of notable players, famous coaches, and legendary club and college teams.

NEW RADIO MORNING SHOW. A new daily morning show, “American Soccer Morning," will begin airing Monday on the North American Soccer Network.

Jason Davis (host of "The Best Soccer Show") will host the show that will air 9-11 a.m. ET Monday-Friday and be available on NASN.tv and NASN Radio. It will feature interviews with prominent journalists, players and coaches in addition to taking listener calls.

The show will be available to download as a podcast in the early afternoon each day on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and TuneIn.

D.C. FINALLY LANDS TV DEAL. A month into the 2013 season, D.C. United has reached an agreement with its regional broadcast carrier to televise its games for the next three years. Under terms of an agreement with the team, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will televise 16 games this season and will televise at least that many matches live in 2014 and 2015.

Production of a pregame show, D.C. United Central, and the postgame show, D.C. United Postgame Live, will continue. Comcast SportsNet also provides United coverage on its news and digital media platforms.

“United is a dynamic brand that delivers a tremendous amount of exciting content to our network’s lineup,” said Comcast SportsNet president Rebecca Schulte in a statement announcing the deal. “We are proud to continue in our longtime position as the official sports network of United and provide their passionate fans with the most comprehensive Black-and-Red coverage.”

Still, United fans will be without local productions of matches until the Comcast SportsNet package kicks in May 8 when D.C. hosts Houston. The 16-game package includes nine home games and seven road matches.

Play-by-play announcer Dave Johnson and analyst John Harkes return to the booth as the primary broadcast team. This is the 17th season that Comcast SportsNet has carried D.C. United games.
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5 comments
  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: April 6, 2013 at 9:52 a.m.
    Carpet Baggers.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: April 6, 2013 at 1:13 p.m.
    Congrats to the DC org.; that was good news...the bad news is that John Harkes will be behind the mike, adding his winded empty of substance commentary.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: April 6, 2013 at 5:18 p.m.
    To Paul & Ridge: Actually Busch stadium hosted two NCAA Final four matches in the early '70s - I know 'cause UCLA, my alma mater, was involved. Sadly, though, our sport was in its "infancy" then and most of the crowd was comprised of St. Louis University fans, but it is extremely heartening that the stadium sold out in such a short time.

  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: April 8, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.
    Plenty of soccer fans in USA. Trick is to get 40,000 to watch a USA game where the majority arent going for the other team.

  1. Simon Provan
    commented on: April 8, 2013 at 7:22 p.m.
    Ric, that was the old Busch stadium. The new one opened, as the article says, in 2006. The final four you refer to does not equate to the new Busch Stadium, so Paul and Ridge are correct in their assessment.


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