Gould Standard / Notre Dame Getting `Friendly' with Liverpool-Style Football

Premier League soccer figures to draw better than Irish spring game.
Herb Gould

On Oct. 20, Garth Brooks played at Notre Dame Stadium. It was the first concert at The House That Rockne Built.

On Jan. 1, the Blackhawks played the Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium. It was the first NHL hockey game at the House of Rockne.

On July 19, Premier League juggernaut Liverpool FC will play Borussia Dortmund at Notre Dame Stadium.

What’s next? Weddings and bar mitzvahs?

Would you like to have your next company picnic on hallowed gridiron ground? Dial 1-800-SWARBRICK

I don’t really know how to think about this.

On the one hand, why not? Could there be a better venue for a tractor pull?

And maybe times are tough for nonprofits like the University of Notre Dame. Can’t blame ’em for trying to make a buck.

Maybe the question should be: Why did ND wait this long? If the school's bean counters started thinking about how much ka-chinging could have been done if Notre Dame Stadium had been turned into a ``host your next event here’’ facility a few decades ago, Touchdown Jesus might not be able to ease their pain.

But Liverpool? Knowing the way the Irish traditionally feel about the English, times must be really tough.

I also know that it’s a delicate balancing act. When Indianapolis Motor Speedway started hosting events other than the historic Indy 500, for example, it was initially very cool. But some of the mystique was lost in the NASCAR process. And the coolness wore off.

Seems like Augusta National, which just hosted a women’s amateur event, is wrestling with the issue of hosting more events. Although Augusta’s agenda seems to be more about gender opportunity than cash. The Masters already is a mint unlike any other.

In a way, the mystique is gone from concerts at Wrigley Field, where mellifluous strains are a regular occurrence. In another way, concerts there are truly special events.

I have seen Elton John and Billy Joel do a dueling pianos thing there. Awesome! Especially Elton John.

And the Paul McCartney experience we had was truly amazing. Seems that the promoters like to fill up the VIP seats that go unclaimed. And we happened to be among the fortunate few who were invited to enjoy the show about 20 feet in front of Sir Paul. I never would have thought I could still stand up for an entire concert. Until I did it.

So yes, a soccer ``friendly’’ at ND will be a cool event for people who are into international soccer.

My only suggestion: Make sure there’s enough beer available. That was a serious drawback at the Winter Classic.

If there wasn’t enough beer for a shivering hockey crowd, imagine how difficult that could become for a sweltering soccer crowd.

At least there is a mild connection. . . they call soccer ``football’’ on the other side of the pond.


Herb Gould