December 18, 2018 / 6:06 PM / a year ago

This week in sports: La Liga’s American dreams dashed – for now

Listen to this week’s Keeping Score podcast with sports business expert Rick Horrow:

A wrap up of the week in sports news:

A cultural divide in soccer – or football, depending on your perspective – may be to blame for Barcelona backing out of a planned match next month in Miami. La Liga, Spain’s preeminent men’s professional soccer (football) division, had hoped the match between its reigning champ and Girona could help expand its international brand. But industry experts say that American and European approaches to soccer (football) may have doomed the already unpopular proposal. Rick’s take: Don’t expect La Liga to give up. Soccer has long been king of all sports around the globe, so it’s quite refreshing to see one of the world’s premier leagues taking a page from the not-as-beautiful American sports’ global brand strategy.

And speaking of divisions in the beautiful game, World Cup 2022 host country Qatar has not said whether it would expand the field of teams to 48 from 32, as it awaits the results of a feasibility study from FIFA. While most national soccer federations have endorsed the idea, it has done little to quell concerns over Qatar’s readiness as a host nation. Rick’s take: Not adequately addressed is the vast infrastructure of hotels, transport, food service, medical care, and security needed to accommodate the athletes, officials, staff, family, fans, and business partners of 32 teams, let alone 48.

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