Why do Las Vegans need to attend an exhibition match between Chivas Guadalajara and Club América, two of Mexico’s top soccer teams?
1. It’s one of the biggest rivalries in soccer. Think rivalries in sports—Red Sox vs. Yankees, Lakers vs. Celtics—and multiply the intensity and passion by 100. That’s what you’re getting in a contest between Chivas and Club América, which is dubbed El Súper Clásico in Mexico. One of the matchups drew 100,000 fans to famed Mexican soccer stadium Estadio Azteca. The two teams are also some of the most successful in Mexico’s main soccer league, with 11 Liga MX titles apiece. Club América leads the all-time series 75-72-63.
2. It’s only the third major soccer exhibition game to be played in Las Vegas since August 2012. El Súper Clásico will be Las Vegas’ third major exhibition game played at Sam Boyd Stadium in recent months. The first was between European soccer powerhouse Real Madrid and Santos Laguna, another team from Mexico’s top division. That August game drew more than 29,000 fans. The second, albeit less attended, was a Major League Soccer exhibition game between Chivas USA and the Colorado Rapids. The beautiful game is only growing in Las Vegas.
3. It’s serving as a de facto test run for a potential MLS franchise. If Las Vegas continues to show that it can draw more than 20,000 per exhibition match, then it might be considered for an MLS franchise—provided, of course, the city can build a soccer-specific stadium and find an ownership group. By comparison, the new stadium for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes is expected to hold 18,000 fans, meaning Las Vegas is slowly proving it can fill a soccer-specific venue.
4. It adds another sport to Las Vegas’ buffet of athletic entertainment. Soccer is underrepresented compared to basketball (UNLV Runnin’ Rebels and NBA Summer League), hockey (Las Vegas Wranglers), baseball (Las Vegas 51s) and football (UNLV). Sure, there’s the indoor soccer team, the Las Vegas Legends, but to see the game played at its highest level out in the open is still a rare sight in the Valley.
El Super Clasico exhibition game Featuring Club América and Chivas Guadalajara, July 3, 8 p.m., $48-$128. Sam Boyd Stadium, 739-3267.