If a Miami-based group has its way, per Sports Illustrated soccer maven Grant Wahl, the second stage of the Copa Libertadores final between Boca Juniors and River Plate won’t be played at El Monumental or in Argentina at all. The game will be played somewhere in Dade County.
Hearing a group from Miami is pushing hard with CONMEBOL to bring the Boca-River Copa Libertadores final 2nd leg to the Miami area. Decision expected from CONMEBOL meeting in Paraguay tomorrow.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) November 26, 2018
Though there was idle speculation Sunday after a make-up date for the match was also called off, this is the first time there appears to be official confirmation of an effort to bring the game to South Florida. There have been efforts to move continental club championships outside of their home confederation before (including reports CONMEBOL eyed Miami in 2016 for a later date), but this would be an unprecedented shift with only days or weeks to prepare.
It’s unknown who is involved, however the logical choice would be Stephen Ross, Charlie Stillitano and Relevant Sports. With its prior experience organizing the International Champions Cup, and its continuing (but stalled) efforts to bring a La Liga game to Hard Rock Stadium, this game could provide a blueprint for other confederations to contest games at the stadium.
The downside is obviously the loss of a monumental (pardon the pun) game for the two clubs, and for Argentinian football as a whole. The upside for Miami, however, could be enormous. The eyes of the soccer world (and even some non-soccer fans piqued by the chaos caused by the second leg’s first attempt on Saturday) would be firmly fixed on South Florida. Considering Dade County and surrounding areas has a built-in fanbase for both clubs (River and Boca jerseys were as prevalent around South Florida last weekend as Dolphins or Hurricanes jerseys), it could be an unexpected slam dunk.
Matthew Bunch contributed to this report.