March 25, 2009 |

After 10 years, M&T Bank stadium will host its first ever professional soccer event. With Serie A giants, AC Milan, set to square off against English Premier League heavyweights Chelsea FC on July 24th at 8pm, it seems good things do come to those that wait.

With both teams’ preseason in full swing and the World Football Challenge at stake, this six-match, four-team (Internazionale Milano and Club America make up the balance) round robin tournament will no doubt draw out all the big guns including Frank Lampard and Ronaldinho.

Sources from inside the group that made this a reality intimated that Baltimore wasn’t the first choice for the venue, but according to Dominick Murray from the Department of Business and Economic Development it “comes(sic) down to deal” and everyone involved “put a deal together.”

The huge draw that both teams enjoy internationally and domestically, coupled with the fact that many of the local hotels looking to buy blocks of tickets to entice both US and Continental fans alike, M&T Bank’s 71,000 seat stadium is set to be packed to capacity with soccer fans from around the globe.

More than just the financial windfall that this is sure to offer Baltimore and its downtown businesses, it provides an invaluable opportunity for Baltimore to showcase its potential as a world-class venue should any future World Cups be staged in the US. Something Baltimore Blast GM Kevin Healey is well aware of and is quite excited to be a part of. He insists that a tournament of this magnitude “could be staged every two years” in Baltimore.

Tickets are already this summers, well, hot tickets. They range from $35 (upper end goal) to $125 (guaranteeing you a practice session with both teams on July 21st). They are available at, and Group can purchase tickets from the Baltimore blast at (410) 73-BLAST and for VIP tickets dial (410) 261-RAVE.