BEIJING - Slow ticket sales for a tournament involving three English Premiership teams and China's Beijing Guoan are causing concerns among sponsors, according to state media.
So far only 20,000 of the 120,000 tickets available for the July 29 and 31 knockout tournament at Beijing's Worker's Stadium have been sold, with most fans buying the cheap seats, the Beijing News said.
Reports that Guoan will field a team of substitutes as it rests its best players for a crucial China Super League match against rivals Chongqing on August 2 are also hampering sales, the paper said.
The pre-season tournament, backed by Premier League sponsors
Barclays, has previously been staged in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong
and is becoming a regular showcase for the world's most popular league.
The Beijing tournament pits Guoan against Hull, while West Ham face Tottenham, with the winners and losers to face off against each other two days later.
Beijing sponsors are asking China's Super League to postpone the Beijing-Chongqing match until later in August so that Guoan can field its top players, the newspaper said.
Meanwhile about half of the 70,000 tickets available for a match between Serie A champions Inter Milan and Cup winners Lazio at Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium on August 8 have been sold, the newspaper said.
The match is intended to mark the first anniversary of the Beijing Olympic Games.