Supporters of European football enjoyed the ultimate soccer fan experience on Columbia Street on July 30 in advance of the evening’s preseason face-off between Crystal Palace FC and Sevilla FC at Comerica Park. The District Detroit and 313 Presents transformed Columbia Street, the pedestrian-only street in the heart of The District Detroit, into a Crystal Palace/Sevilla tailgate, welcoming fans for a wide range of activities before the match.
A live DJ played team favorites and energized the crowd, while Crystal Palace FC and Sevilla FC had giveaways ranging from scarves and flags to autographed jerseys and tickets. The Motor City Cup was on hand for photos and fans enjoyed themed specials at the restaurants. From special shakes and burgers to outdoor grill stations and team-inspired cupcakes, there was something for everyone.
Each team offered special experiences for fans too. Crystal Palace was joined by legendary player Mark Bright, as well as Challenger, the team’s mascot and the first bald eagle in U.S. history trained to free-fly into major sports stadiums, arenas, and ballrooms during the National Anthem. Now retired, Challenger enjoyed photos with his admirers. Sevilla brought the coveted UEFA Europa League Trophy, with fans lining up to see the prize and take photos.
Supporters of all ages wore jerseys from teams near and far, and at 5:30 the doors to Comerica Park welcomed over 21,000 guests to watch the preseason friendly match for the Motor City Cup, which did not disappoint.Sevilla took the initial lead as Ivan Rakitic scored the first goal, followed by Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze to tie the match 1-1. After 90 action-packed minutes, the teams settled the score with Rakitic scoring the final goal through a sudden-death penalty kick and Sevilla FC taking home the Motor City Cup.
This match marked the return of international football to Comerica Park for the first time in six years. In July 2017, Comerica Park hosted its first-ever soccer match between AS Roma of the Italian Serie A League against Paris Saint-Germain of France’s Ligue 1 in the 2017 International Champions Cup tournament.