By 90Min
August 17, 2018

La Liga announced this week a 15-year partnership with Relevent to 'promote soccer in the U.S. and Canada', which will see a competitive game played in the United States each season.

Spanish football has made a concerted effort in recent seasons to muscle in on the enormous popularity of the Premier League in North America.

One such method has seen La Liga schedule games for Saturday afternoons, away from the typical evening kickoffs Spanish football is used to, in a direct bid to rival Premier League action.

Now, as American interest in European giants playing meaningless pre-season games appears to dwindle, this could have the effect of sparking a new wave of excitement, just as happened with the NFL in the UK when regular season games started being played in London.

Hosting a Premier League on foreign shores never took off after the proposed '39th game' was shouted down. But the fact that La Liga is looking to steal a march in the highly lucrative North American market has already brought the subject back to the surface.

"Don't even think about it, Premier League," journalist Henry Winter warned in response to La Liga's proud announcement on Thursday morning. "39th game remains a damaging idea that shows contempt to domestic fans and skews integrity of the league."

Premier League chiefs will be well aware of the potential threat to popularity their product (yes it is a 'product' these days) and it would hardly be surprising to hear more serious reports of some kind of response emerging over the next few weeks.

The previous problems associated hosting a 'regular season' Premier League game overseas have not gone away. But there could be a way to get the best of both worlds.

What if the Premier League joined forces with the FA to rebrand the Community Shield as the 'English Super Cup' and send that overseas instead?

As a game between the Premier League champions and the FA Cup winners, it is exactly the same concept as the 'Super Cups' seen around Europe. Despite being a 'Super Cup' in all but name, it no longer carries the prestige at home it once did and a breath of fresh air is needed.

While those in Spain celebrate the Supercopa de España as a major trophy - Lionel Messi is now Barcelona's most decorated player of all time because of winning another last weekend, even though the RFEF insisted on classifying it as a friendly match - the attitude towards the Community Shield from fans in England has become one of apathy.

Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Spain have actually already exported their version, playing the recent 2018 edition in Tangier, Morocco. Elsewhere, the Supercoppa Italiana has been played overseas on and off since 1993, with six of the last nine played in China or Qatar and this season's taking place in Saudi Arabia.

The Community Shield or 'English Super Cup' could easily be a big game to get excited about in a way that isn't simply meaningless hype attached to a pre-season friendly. And if that quenches Premier League ambition to send a game to North America and rival La Liga, then why not?

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