Not this year.
Despite mutual interest, the International Champions Cup won’t be returning to Michigan Stadium this summer, Athletic Director Jim Hackett told the Daily.
Hackett confirmed he had been in conversations with tournament organizers as recently as last week about using the Big House as a venue, but scheduling issues proved too difficult to overcome.
“We wanted to make it happen,” Hackett said Wednesday night.
Hackett cited a desire to have Michigan Stadium ready for the football team’s Sept. 12 home opener against Oregon State.
Last year, when Real Madrid and Manchester United met in Ann Arbor, the event set an attendance record for a United States-based soccer match. More than 109,000 people watched the English side beat their Spanish counterparts, toppling a mark that had stood since 1984.
One of the game’s highlights was a late appearance by Cristiano Ronaldo, who had initially been ruled out with a leg injury. But the reigning Ballon d’Or winner didn’t have much impact in Real Madrid’s 3-1 defeat.
Fútbol at the Big House had its complications, though, particularly when dealing with the dimensions of the pitch. A college football field is 53 1/3 yards wide, while FIFA mandates a playing area of at least 110×70 yards. That made for cramped conditions during the match, with the added inconvenience of team benches being moved into the stands.
Additionally, tournament organizers had to arrange for contractors to cover Michigan Stadium’s turf surface with a layer of natural grass.
“The pitch is not so good, and that’s a pity,” Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said at the time.
The North American portion of this year’s International Champions Cup will feature European powers Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, FC Porto and ACF Fiorentina, Mexican side Club America and MLS clubs Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls and San Jose Earthquakes. The tournament will be held from July 11 through Aug. 5.
Matches and venues will be officially announced April 28 via a live stream on InternationalChampionsCup.com.