Birmingham City push to play League One fixture against Wrexham in the US

Tom Brady attends Birmingham City vs Leeds United in the Championship last season
Birmingham City proposed playing their league fixture against Wrexham in the US - PA/Mike Egerton

Birmingham City mooted the idea of playing a League One fixture against Wrexham in the US in an attempt to seize upon growing American interest in the English domestic game.

The club’s American consortium ownership, which includes NFL great Tom Brady, saw obvious commercial appeal in facing Hollywood-backed Wrexham across the Atlantic.

No official request was made to the Football League, however, after the club was told informally in recent weeks that such an idea would be flatly turned down.

US-based dealmakers and administrators have spoken repeatedly of their hopes of eventually luring a Premier League fixture to America in the coming seasons.

However, despite unprecedented viewing numbers in America, both the top tier and the EFL remain opposed to the idea of either domestic competitions being played overseas.

No proposals have got off the ground since Richard Scudamore, the former Premier League executive chairman, floated the idea of a new “international round” in early 2008.

That concept was torpedoed amid political uproar. In more recent years, the Premier League has instead organised pre-season competition in the US. Wrexham, who have enjoyed back-to-back promotions captured in a fly-on-the-wall documentary which followed the 2020 takeover by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, will return to America this summer after a commercially successful pre-season tour last year.

Birmingham, meanwhile, were relegated from the Championship in May, having been taken over by US-based Knighthead, with Brady coming on board as a minority investor a month later.

Sources close to talks maintain the EFL never received a formal request and would not have seriously considered the prospect of Birmingham being allowed to play in America.

World Cup organisers in the US said last year they would “die” for the opportunity to stage a Premier League fixture because the American market is buying into English football like never before.

Since 2013, NBC’s Saturday Premier League breakfast coverage regularly gets million-plus viewing figures and is said to have reached “40 million unique individuals”, according to official numbers. Separate research from Nielsen Sports estimates there are now 30.6 million Premier League fans across the Atlantic. Having been worth around $1 billion in 2013, the league now receives $2.7 billion under a six-year rights deal in the United States with NBC Sports ending in 2028.