21st February, 2013
FC Barcelona and Argentina national team soccer star Lionel Messi and 35 of the world’s top soccer players are lining up a “Messi & Friends” exhibition game at Soldier Field on 6 July, according to the Miami-based sports marketing company Numero 5 Producciones LLC, which is putting on the event.
Chicagobusiness.com reports that the game, which reports suggest will feature international soccer stars like Didier Drogba, Carlos Bocanegra, Dani Alves and others, is part of a series of games benefiting the Lionel Messi Foundation that will also take place in Peru, Colombia and Los Angeles this summer.
The foundation raises money and awareness for “at risk” children and those with terminal illnesses, according to its website.
Luca Serra, spokesman for Soldier Field management firm SMG, confirmed that Numero 5 has a verbal agreement with the stadium to hold the event, though final details of the contract are still being worked out.
The event is not currently listed on the Soldier Field event schedule and general admission tickets are not yet available for the event, but about 80 VIP tickets are currently on sale at MessiandFriends.net for $2,500 apiece, which includes sideline field seats and a meet-and-greet session with players.
Mr. Serra said stadium officials are advising Numero 5 on setting ticket prices that will offset the massive costs of bringing the nearly three-dozen premiere players to Chicago and are hoping to finalise the agreement in the next week.
“The Messi & Friends exhibition, much like the NFL Pro-Bowl or the MLB All-Star Game, will provide fans with an unparalleled opportunity to witness the greatest athletes in the sport of soccer together on the field of competition before the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014,” said Sergio Condino, vice president of Numero 5, in a statement.