06/07/2010 3:28 PM ET
Fenway Park to host soccer match between Celtic Football Club and Sporting Clube de Portugal
Match between legendary Scottish Premier League team and top Liga Sagras futebol club to take place July 21
Perennial Scottish Premier League contender Celtic Football Club will take on the storied Portuguese futebol club Sporting Clube de Portugal at Fenway Park on July 21, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. The first ever Fenway Football Challenge is being made possible by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the City of Boston, Celtic F.C., Sporting C.P., the Boston Red Sox, and Fenway Sports Group. Initial match sponsors include Bank of America, Budweiser, Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Gulf Oil, Lumber Liquidators and Nike.
"I'm excited to welcome Celtic F.C. and Sporting C.P. to Boston for their exhibition soccer match at Fenway Park," said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "Soccer is a global game and this match will provide another opportunity to showcase Boston as a truly global city attracting fans from around the world and highlighting the people, culture, and local businesses that make our city so special. Both teams have many loyal supporters throughout our city and I look forward to this matchup with great anticipation."
Tickets will range from $20 - $120, and will go on sale at noon on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at www.tickets.com/footballatfenway. The match between the two renowned football clubs will be broadcast live on NESN (New England Sports Network) throughout New England. Plans for broadcast outside the New England market will be announced in the coming weeks.
"During its 98-year history, Fenway Park has been privileged to witness some of the best in athletic competition, not only in baseball, but in football, boxing and most recently in hockey with the 2010 NHL Winter Classic. This match is a tremendous opportunity to highlight some of the top talent in the soccer world, and we want to thank Celtic F.C. and Sporting C.P. for bringing the sport here for the first time in over 40 years," said Sam Kennedy, EVP/COO of the Boston Red Sox and President of Fenway Sports Group. "The Red Sox ownership group, led by John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino, have been committed to promoting all that is good and unique about Fenway Park, and this match presents an exciting opportunity to showcase the ballpark to an international audience. As the world celebrates football with the 2010 World Cup, the Fenway Football Challenge will provide New Englanders the opportunity to witness two international clubs - each with a rich heritage and a passionate regional fan base."
"We are excited to serve as the television home for this historic event at Fenway. This is a unique opportunity to bring New England soccer fans a top-caliber international soccer match during a World Cup year," said Sean McGrail, NESN's President and CEO. "It's also a great fit for NESN since we will be televising this game from our home ballpark. We expect the game will be a big hit with the region's soccer fans."
Celtic Football Club is based in the Parkhead area of Glasgow, and currently plays in the Scottish Premier League. The club was established in 1887, and played its first game in 1888. Celtic has won the Scottish championship on 42 occasions, most recently in the 2007/08 season, and the Scottish Cup 34 times. Celtic's home stadium is Celtic Park, the biggest football stadium in Scotland, with a capacity of 60,832. The club's traditional playing colors are green and white hooped shirts with white shorts and white socks. In 1967, Celtic became the first British team, and only Scottish team, to win the European Cup. In April 2008 the club was estimated to have a fan base of nine million people, including one million in North America. In 2003, more than 80,000 Celtic fans travelled to Seville to support the team in the UEFA Cup Final match. For their superior behavior during the match, Celtic fans received special acknowledgement from UEFA and FIFA, including the FIFA Fair Play Award. Celtic previously played at Fenway Park on May 30, 1931, where they were defeated by the New York Yankees of the American Soccer League.
"We are delighted once again to be visiting Boston, a city which has welcomed the Club and its supporters on many occasions. Boston is a place which enjoys a great connection with Celtic Football Club and is somewhere which is held very fondly in the hearts of our supporters," said Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell. "We would like to thank Mayor Menino, the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Sports Group and of course, the people of the city of Boston for again hosting the Club and our supporters. As is always the Celtic way, we hope through this visit to make many more new friends in Boston. We are sure our meeting against Sporting C.P. will be a great match and we are very much looking forward to a fantastic occasion. We know our supporters from across the United States and Canada and even beyond will travel to the match in great numbers and we are sure they will join Sporting supporters in an occasion which demonstrates all that is great about football, in one of the world's finest cities."
Sporting C.P., often referred to as "Sporting", currently plays in the Liga Sagres in Portugal. Established in 1906, Sporting has won 18 national championship titles and 15 national cups, while also appearing in UEFA Champions League matches 17 times, and in 8 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup matches. Sporting's home stadium is the Estádio José Alvalade in Portugal's capital city of Lisbon, and supporters and players of the club are nicknamed Leões (Lions). Since its formation, Sporting has had six badges, all of which have included the color green and the lion. Sporting is one of the Portuguese teams with the most "house clubs" (houses represent the club in a particular region of the country or outside the country), with more than 200 official houses and more than 100,000 club members. It boasts more than 3 million fans worldwide.
Said Paulo Costinha, Sporting Lisbon Football Director, "It's an honour to be invited to such a prestigious match. Sporting is always proud to travel abroad to represent this Portuguese centenary institution, particularly against an opponent with a rich history in football, such as Celtic F.C. in Glasgow. We thank the Mayor of Boston, the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group for this invitation."
The July 21, 2010 match will mark the 19th soccer game played on the grounds of Fenway Park. The last time soccer was played at the ballpark was on July 9, 1968 when the Boston Beacons faced Santos F.C. from Brazil and their star player, the soccer legend Pele.