Daytona Speedway Plans To Host Soccer Festival With Clubs From North, South America

Daytona International Speedway wants to get a little more international. The NASCAR racetrack announced plans to host a soccer festival with professional clubs from North and South America on July 3-4 in 2021. The two-day Daytona Soccer Fest will mark the first time a NASCAR racetrack hosts a pro soccer match.

Daytona usually hosts the Coke Zero Sugar 400 (and you thought the Carabao Cup was a dumb name) on the Fourth of July, but that race was moved to August. So with no NASCAR, the racetrack decided to find another way to fill the seats.

No teams have been announced for the event and it’s interesting to note the press release didn’t mention the possibility of European clubs, who regularly fill NFL stadiums in the summer during preseason tournaments in the U.S. North and South American clubs likely mean teams from MLS, Liga MX and Argentina (and possibly Brazil). The event is being organized with Torneos, an Argentine company, showing there will be a focus on Latinx fans.

The Daytona Soccer Fest won’t be just about the football. The folks at NASCAR, who know how to fill a giant venue, will also have concerts, carnival rides, water slides, a fishing tournament and an eSports competition, among other attractions. No words yet on if Clint Dempsey will enter the fishing competition.  

“The inaugural Daytona Soccer Fest will be a groundbreaking event,” Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile said. “We’re always looking to add new events to our already busy calendar and to be able to host a professional international soccer match in the tri-oval along with other family fun-filled activities on the July 4th Weekend is an incredible opportunity to showcase our state-of-the-art facility.”

Tickets for the 2021 event will go on sale on July 4.

Soccer and NASCAR don’t typically have much of an overlapping fanbase, so it will be interesting to see how this is marketed to fans of the beautiful game and what musical acts are invited.

Whether or not the Daytona Soccer Fest succeeds is likely to come down to what clubs are brought in for the games. If it’s the San Jose Earthquakes and Chicago Fire headlining the event, good luck filling that 101,500-seat oval. But if the event includes the likes of Club América, LA Galaxy, Boca Juniors and Flamengo, this thing has a chance to be pretty fun.

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