MINNEAPOLIS –There are still a few months to go, but plenty of excitement surrounded a press conference held at the U.S. Bank Stadium Preview Center Thursday to officially welcome the **International Champions Cup**, organized by Relevent Sports.
Italian power **A.C. Milan** and defending Premier League champion **Chelsea*** *will face off in the **inaugural sporting event** that is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. (CT) on Aug. 3 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
"We're here to celebrate this wonderful event," said Charlie Stillitano, co-founder and chairman of Relevent Sports. "Even though it's made for 'your' football, we're going to play a little bit of 'our' football on that day. I want to first thank and acknowledge SMG's Patrick Talty, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority's Michele Kelm-Helgen and Minnesota Vikings COO Kevin Warren. And of course I want to thank the [Wilf family]."
The International Champions Cup is an annual summer soccer tournament and features the best clubs from around the world. The first International Champions Cup match hosted in Minnesota occurred in 2014, when nearly 35,000 fans watched Manchester City take on Olympiacos.
"Whenever we're invited to an NFL stadium, we really feel at home, so we want to thank you for that," Stillitano said. "The other reason we're [in Minnesota] is because it's a really strong, passionate fan base. It's an incredible soccer community – one that I think isn't recognized as much but one that we really see."
The high-profile international match marks the third major non-Vikings event that will take place in the first month of the stadium's opening, joining Luke Bryan and Metallica concerts, to go along with two Vikings home preseason contests.
"To be able to hold such a phenomenal match as our first inaugural sports event at U.S. Bank Stadium will really make this a special day," Warren said. "We're just excited, we're elated, to welcome people from around the world – this reiterates that the stadium was not built just for NFL football. It was built for great soccer matches, it was built for concerts, it was built for the community – and not only the local community but also for the international community."
Warren added: "We'll be excited, we'll be here, [and] I know our community will be incredibly supportive. This is a great soccer town."
Thursday's press conference also featured two soccer alumni guests: Chelsea legend Paulo Ferreira, a two-time winner of the Champions League; and A.C. Milan legend Mauro Tassotti, a three-time winner of the Champions League.
"It's a huge honor to be here," Ferreira said. "I want to thank Relevent Sports and Charlie Stillitano for bringing us back again to the U.S. It's always a pleasure to come and play here […] it will be special [to be in the new stadium], and I'm looking forward to coming."
The 2016 International Champions Cup will run from July 23 – August 13 and play matches across the United States and throughout the world. Each team will play three contests, and the club with the most points at the end of the tournament will be crowned champion.
Tickets are scheduled to go on sale to the public on Tuesday, April 12.