Relevent-backed Women's ICC fills void

Lyon, winner of 13 straight French league titles and the last four UEFA Women's Champions League titles, won the Women’s International Champions Cup, the unofficial women's world club championship, with a 1-0 victory over the NWSL champion North Carolina Courage on German star Dzsenifer Marozsan's goal in the 57th minute.

The Courage, playing without its U.S. national team players, won the first Women's ICC played in 2018 when it beat Lyon, 1-0, before a sparse crowd at Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Dolphins' football stadium.

This year, the Courage had its U.S. national team players, albeit returning to action in recent weeks following the World Cup, but Lyon, whose squad featured 14 World Cup players, turned the tables on the Courage, who used seven players who played in the 2019 World Cup in France.

The big difference was Women’s ICC found an audience. The Courage hosted the four-team tournament, drawing 5,426 and 8,208 fans for the two doubleheaders at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Developing an official world championship is part of FIFA president Gianni Infantino's five-part proposal to boost women's soccer. But it remains one of the most difficult proposals to pull off.

Only UEFA and Conmebol organize confederation club championships. Finding a time of year that works for most teams isn't easy. The NWSL's mid-season is the offseason or preseason in Europe, and vice versa. Carving out dates in-season is challenging. And as FIFA found with the men's World Club Cup, finding venues that will draw for a club championship -- men's or women's -- is easier said than done.

Having Relevent Sports Group as the organizer of the Women's ICC is a perfect middle ground for the short term. It has good relations with many of the big European clubs who send their men's teams to the ICC for preseason and are moving into the women's game.

Relevent has access to sponsors -- Budweiser was signed as the first presenting partner of the Women's ICC -- and lots of experience in markets across the country.

Sports business publisher Front Office Sports reported that Relevent is looking at expanding the 2020 Women's ICC to eight teams and playing at two NWSL venues in the fall.

Aug. 18 in Cary, N.C.
NC Courage 0 Lyon 1. Goal: Marozsan 57.
NC Courage -- Labbe; Hinkle, Erceg, Dahlkemper, Mathias (O’Reilly 90); O’Sullivan (Zerboni 90), Mewis (Roccaro 90); Dunn, Debinha (Meehan 84); Hamilton (McDonald 58), Williams.
Lyon -- Bouhaddi; Greenwood, Renard, Mbock, Bronze; Majri, Marozsan, Henry, Parris (van de Sanden 46); Le Sommer (Kumagai 61), Hegerberg.
Att.: 8,208.

1 comment about "Relevent-backed Women's ICC fills void".
  1. R2 Dad, August 19, 2019 at 10:53 a.m.

    Anyone see this? For a competition supposedly looking for ratings, the NCC semifinal highlights consisted of the final goal. How hard is it to deliver extended highlights, media people?

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