NEW YORK (Tuesday, January 24, 2012) – Major League Soccer announced today that Philadelphia will be the host city for the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. The annual showcase event will feature three days of festivities, culminating in a match between the League’s top players and a renowned international club on July 25 at Chester, Pa,’s PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union and its boisterous supporters, the Sons of Ben.
The 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game will be broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2, Galavision or Telefutura and in Canada on TSN and RDS. ESPN International will make the game available live in more than 100 countries. In addition, the All-Star Game will be carried online and on smartphones and tablets via ESPN3 and WatchESPN in the United States.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and City of Chester Mayor John Linder joined MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz for the announcement today at City Hall.
“Philadelphia has become a destination for hosting major soccer events in recent years, and we are pleased to bring the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game to a region with incredibly passionate soccer supporters,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “The Sons of Ben and the rest of the Union fans will provide an enthusiastic home-field advantage at PPL Park, and we look forward to celebrating our sport with this vibrant soccer community.”
The Philadelphia Union have sold out the majority of games at PPL Park, which opened in June of 2010, and six international soccer games – plus two regular season Union games – at Lincoln Financial Field averaged more than 40,000 fans in the past three years. The Union averaged more than 19,000 fans per game in 2010, their inaugural MLS season. Last year PPL Park attendance averaged 99% of capacity for Union regular season games.
The 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game will be the first all-star event staged in the Philadelphia region in more than a decade. Other top-tier professional leagues to hold their all-star games in the region include: NBA (2002, 1976, 1970 & 1960); MLB (1996, 1976, 1952 & 1943); NHL (1992 & 1976); NFL (1942). Also in 1976, a team of NASL All-Stars took on England’s national team at JFK Stadium as part of the Bicentennial Cup.
“Major League Soccer has chosen to host this year’s All-Star Game at PPL Park with good reason,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “The Philadelphia region is centrally located, growing in population and has a rich sports culture. The Philadelphia Union have quickly enhanced Philly’s sports traditions with the most dedicated MLS fan base in the nation. I have no doubt there will be a fantastic turnout for this year’s festivities.”
MLS wanted to have a club in Philadelphia since before the League’s inaugural 1996 season, but numerous efforts to expand there fell short until Union Chairman Jay Sugarman and CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz forged a breakthrough partnership with the City of Chester to build PPL Park – a waterfront stadium with a stunning view of the Commodore Barry Bridge just 10 miles south of Philadelphia International Airport. The stadium seats 18,500 for Union games and features 29 luxury suites, a full service club restaurant, sideline roofs, and expansive promenade areas outside the stadium for pregame activities. For more information on PPL Park, CLICK HERE.
"Since Philadelphia Union came to the region two years ago, the soccer fans in this area have shown that they are among the most passionate and authentic in the country,” said Sakiewicz. “It's a tremendous honor for us to host the MLS All Star game and reward the fans with yet another memorable experience at PPL Park.”
The 2012 AT&T All-Star Game will mark the ninth time in League history that an elite international club has played the MLS All-Stars, who are 5-2-1 in those matches. In addition to honoring the best players in MLS, the game has featured successful, world-famous clubs such as Manchester United (2010 & 2011), Everton FC (2009), Chelsea FC (2006), and Chivas de Guadalajara (2003). The opponent for this year’s game will be announced at a later date.
In past years, fans from throughout North America and around the world have traveled to enjoy the AT&T MLS All-Star Game and its surrounding festivities.
Philadelphia Union full season ticket holders will have priority access to tickets for the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game before they go on sale to the general public. For more information on how to become a Philadelphia Union season ticket holder call 877-21-UNION (877-218-6466) or CLICK HERE.
WATCH: Philadelphia unveiled as 2012 MLS All-Star host city