While there have been years and years of talk in the English Premier League about playing regular season games around the world and in the United States, the Scottish Premier League may be the first to do just that.
Advanced talks have taken place between Dundee United and Celtic to play a Scottish Premier League game somewhere in the United States, possibly Boston or Philadelphia. It’s unknown when this game will happen (if it does), but it likely won’t happen this season. Dundee host Celtic December 30 and there isn’t enough time to plan out the entire game and sell tickets within five weeks of the game.
Previously, there have only been friendlies played among European teams in the United States with the exception of the 2012 French Trophée des Champions in Harrison, NJ and the annual International Champions Cup, which are essentially friendlies with a trophy attached.
Celtic has been very interested in entering the American soccer market, even going as far as wanting to create a NASL team in the future. And now that Dundee United is under American ownership, both are finding ways to tap into the American soccer market, similar to the National Football League’s idea to have regular season games in London and all over England to make the game more popular in England and Europe.
Even though both teams have seemingly agreed and they have a few locations to choose from, this still has to be approved by the Scottish Professional Football League. That may seem like a no-brainer, but there is a lot to consider before making a decision like this. Mainly, since Dundee is hosting this game, that’ll take a home game away from their fans and a home game against the best team in the league. While Dundee’s owners really want to expand into a new market, they cannot do it at the expense of those who spend the money to support them at the stadium during every home game.
Not to mention, while this would technically be a Dundee home game, Celtic fans will most likely make up 99.5% of the crowd. I’m sure there are a few Dundee United fans in the United States but they will no doubt be dwarfed by Celtic fans. That will be seen by those Dundee fans in Scotland as not only missing a home game, but a home game in name only that’ll be full of Celtic fans. Many of those fans will see the game as a cash grab by Dundee’s owners and not a means of expanding into a new market and I frankly can’t blame them. The SPFL will have to take that into consideration and determine if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.