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One for the Money

Last night, my beloved team landed in New York City, their first stop on their tour of North America the East Coast of America and Toronto, Canada. (Yes, I’m still bitter that they won’t come to the West Coast.) After meeting fans this morning in New York, they will fly to Toronto, where tomorrow the Most Successful Club in the World Most Successful Club in Europe will face the Most Successful Club in Greece, Olympiacos (also the reigning Greek champions.) Hopefully, Milan will not be embarrassed, as this is definitely the most winnable game of the ICC Tournament for them. But with Inzaghi’s admission that the team he’s got right now would have to win with their grit and determination this season (translation: he does NOT have the quality he needs to win,) this North American tour is all about the money.

Ummm... where are the West BEST Coast games?

La Gazzetta dello Sport estimated that Milan would make €3.5m in revenue between the three scheduled games of the ICC Tournament and the friendly they added in Houston (getting closer, guys, but still not even close to West Coast) vs. Mexican side Chivas Guadalajara on August 6th. David Swan of put that kind of money from last season into perspective as he summed up the Milan accounts for calendar year 2013:

“The €4.209m Milan made from ‘other competitions’ actually came from their pre-season tour to the USA, the Audi Cup pre-season tournament, and a friendly with Swiss club Young Boys. For comparison, they made €6.975m from a year’s worth of Serie A games (the latter half of 2012/13 season, and the first half of 2013/14 season) – not that much more than they made in one summer’s worth of friendlies.”

So these matches are certainly not about winning, they are about generating crucial revenue. (And also giving fans a chance to take selfies with a Milan legend.)

Chance of a lifetime

What can fans expect to see on the pitch for their money? Mister Inzaghi has chosen a squad of 30, including seven Primavera players, to travel to the US. He has been primarily using the 4-3-3 formation in trainings, but has promised to experiment with other formations during this tour. So before you get all crazy in the comments predicting that with one assist or goal, some Primavera player is going to be promoted to the first team and be the next ‘big thing’, keep in mind that these games will be more like parading the players like show ponies and collecting a big check. Oh, and trying not to get injured (you know, like poor Piccinocchi, the Primavera player who will go under the knife next week because he injured his thigh in a friendly vs. Lega Pro side Renate. Get better soon, Mario!)

It's finally official, with its Casa Milan video game logo and everything

Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubts that Inzaghi will want to win these matches and do everything in his power to do so. But at the end of the day, a little perspective is required. And with Milan’s injury history, a lot of caution, too. Since Milan refuse to come to the BEST COAST, I can only be grateful that there is a TV channel that is willing to interrupt their endless baseball coverage to show some “soccer” here in the US, and at a decent hour for me, too. Well, that, and the fact that Balotelli has had some down time to post masterpieces like this and this to Instagram. Okay, and the opportunity to launch the new away kits in a major city outside of Italy. Whatever. Other than that, it’s all about the money. And without Europe this year, that is even more important.

This post inspired by the music of The Smiths “Girl Afraid”

Our next match is
Guiness ICC Tournament Friendly
Milan vs. Olympiacos
Thursday, July 24 • 8:00pm EDT
This match will be shown LIVE in the US on Fox Sports 1