A huge hit last year, and with the prospect more interest thanks to the World Cup, international soccer will return to Baltimore this summer when Italy power Inter Milan takes on England's up-and-coming Manchester City in an exhibition match set for July 31 at M & T Bank Stadium.
Last July 25, a sellout crowd of 71,000 fans packed M & T Bank Stadium to watch Chelsea play AC Milan, which showcased two of the most storied franchises as well as Baltimore's passion for soccer.
With this year's World Cup set to begin in June in South Affrica, the soccer buzz should help bring another sellout crowd for the July's friendly in Baltimore. Tickets, which go on sale Wednesday with prices ranging from $25 to $115, may be purchased by calling 410-261-7283 or visiting www.BaltimoreRavens.com.
The strong support from last summer's exhibition drew the attention of the U.S. Soccer Federation, which named Baltimore one of 18 finalists to hold future World Cup matches. The U.S. is expected to be awarded the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 by FIFA, the sports governing body.
This summer's exhibition is another chance for Baltimore to state its case, along with providing exciting soccer at its highest level and stimulating the local economy. Last year's game generated $20 million of economic activity and $1.5 million more in state and local taxes.
"We are extremely excited to have soccer coming back to M & T Stadium," said Baltimore Ravens' President Dick Cass at a news conference Friday morning.
"I think as we demonstrate that Baltimore and M & T Bank Stadium is a good venue for soccer, we hope to bring more soccer events to the stadium. We also hope this will help our World Cup bid for the U.S. If we can demonstrate that this is a great place for soccer, we're hopeful that when the U.S. does get the World Cup awarded to it, that Baltimore will be one of the cities that has matches."