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Old Firm derby considered for US audiences

Fri 23rd Apr 2010 | Club & Country Competitions

Celtic and Rangers could take their unique sporting brand across the Atlantic this summer by staging an Old Firm derby in the United States for their North American-based supporters according to The Times.

The Glasgow rivals are considering a lucrative offer to play a friendly fixture in Boston in July that could raise at least £2 million for the Clydesdale Bank Premier League sides to share, as they both search for new revenue streams.

It’s reported that the Celtic has been approached by an American promotions company to play Rangers at the 70,000-seat Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts.

The two have never met outside of Glasgow but both possess huge fan bases in the United States, particularly the eastern seaboard, and Canada that would encourage the backers to believe they would sell out the stadium if Celtic and Rangers met there.

As yet, the idea is still in its early stages but Celtic are heading across the Atlantic for pre-season games ahead of the 2010-11 Premier League calendar, and are pencilled in to face Manchester United in Toronto on July 16 or 17, while Rangers are considering games in Miami and New York.

Celtic have been frequent visitors to the United States over the past decade, drawing a 68,000 crowd when they faced Manchester United in Seattle in 2006. It was on that pre-season tour that they also visited Boston, playing in the Gillette Stadium when they drew against New England Revolution under their previous manager, Gordon Strachan.

There were just over 16,000 spectators who turned up for that game, but the US promoters believe that an American-based Old Firm game would attract a crowd of around 70,000. With Celtic and Rangers both struggling to raise revenue just now, that could be the incentive the Glasgow rivals need to ship their Old Firm package across the Atlantic.

Celtic’s game against Manchester United in Toronto is expected to draw in a crowd of around 50,000 but adding both Glasgow clubs into the equation would not only appeal to expatriate Scots and Irish fans, but also to American football enthusiasts.

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