Soccer is an international sport with interest none bigger than in English soccer. The EPL's financial clout is due in large part to its success in selling itself in foreign markets, to the tune of $2
billion a year under the terms of the new television agreements reached for the 2016-19 cycle.
Even the Football League Cup -- the weakest of the three competitions in which English clubs
compete -- commands a fee: $7.5 million a year for three years for naming rights under the terms of the new agreement.
After the Milk Cup. Littlewoods Cup, Rumbelows Cup, Coca Cola Cup,
Worthington’s Cup, Carling Cup and Capital One Cup, the English League Cup has been rebranded the Carabao Cup after its new sponsor, a Thai energy drink.
The first-round draw for
the 2017-18 tournament will be held on Friday in Bangkok, raising some concerns about why the English Football League has to go halfway around the world to conduct a draw.
named Carabao Cup offers a significant opportunity for the Thai brand to engage with football fans via its association with one of the biggest football competitions in the country," the English
Football League explained in a statement, "and Carabao plans to bring this partnership to life at every opportunity for customers and consumers."
Frenchman Emmanuel Petit, the
former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder, will be the celebrity on hand to conduct the draw with Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey and Brian Davidson, the British ambassador to
There's precedence for organizing the draw overseas. In 1991, the Football League held the the quarterfinal draw of the Rumbelows Cup (named after a since-defunct electronics
retailer) at New York's Trump Tower.
John and Jimmy Greaves, hosts of ITV's "Saint and Greavsie" show, were in New York for the 1994 World Cup qualifying draw at Madison Square Garden's Felt Forum, and they decided
to conduct the draw from the lobby of the Trump Tower, completed in 1983 and world-famous by 1991.
It turned out that Donald Trump's secretary at the time was English and
recognized St. John and Greaves and asked them if they wanted Trump to take part. Sure enough, Donald Dent, the English League's secretary, Graves and Trump sat around a conference table
as the Donald drew the away teams, and Greavsie did the honors for the home teams.
The big match-up: Leeds United vs. Manchester United. What did Trump think of it? “That’s a
biggy," he said. "That sounds like the type of game I want to go to."
Asked about his interest in soccer, Trump, who played soccer at military school in the early 1960s, said, "I love it. It's
a great game" before adding, "“It’ll be interesting to see how it catches on in the United States." He followed soccer enough to point out to the ITV crew that the USA had just won the
first Women's World Cup.
Greaves thanked Trump for his hospitality by presenting him with a Saint and Greavsie mug. Knowing then the value of stroking Trump's ego, Greaves added,
“President [George H.W.] Bush or Frank Sinatra haven’t got one of those."