Alicia Keys is set to become the first singer to perform live at the opening ceremony of the 2016 UEFA Champions League final. The American singer-songwriter confirmed on Wednesday that she will be performing an original song at the opening ceremony of next month’s Champions League final match in Milan, Italy.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 27, 2016
The former X-Factor judge will be performing at Milan’s Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, also known as the San Siro, in front of a live audience of 80,000. Furthermore, the Champions League final is one of the most watched sporting events in the world, with an estimated TV viewership of over 200 million people in 220 countries. Keys says that performing to such a large audience is going to be “a pretty insane experience” for her.
All previous opening ceremonies for the event have included grandeur dance performances followed by the official UEFA Champions League Anthem, the only exception being Tinchy Stryder’s rap performance at Wembley in 2011. While musical performances have become almost customary in most sporting events around the world, UEFA have been abstaining from the practice. Alicia Keys’ live performance for the 2016 UCL Final is set to set a new standard for the popular sporting event.
With over 50 million albums sold worldwide and 15 Grammy awards from 29 nominations, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist, Alicia Keys is one of the most popular musicians in the world. UEFA believe that including a performance by Keys will further boost the already gigantic appeal that the Champions League final match has worldwide. UEFA’s marketing director, Guy-Laurent Epstein, says, “With such a highly-respected and truly global artist performing ahead of the final, it heightens even further the appeal of the match and consequently will reach a broader audience demographic.”
Keys says she is enthralled about performing in Italy. “My mother’s side of the family is from Italy, so whenever I go there, I always feel the most loved,” she says. “I feel like it’s homecoming of love in a lot of ways.”
She also says that she feels honored and excited to be a part of this event. “This is going to be a powerful moment in history and one that represents the spirit of all the similarities we share no matter where we live and who we are,” she says. “I’m extremely excited to share my new music at the UEFA Champions League final, an event that is celebrated in every corner of the world,” she adds.
The UEFA Champions League is one of the most prestigious football related events in the world with all of Europe’s top clubs competing in the tournament. With the second leg of the semi-finals yet to come, either one of Real Madrid or Manchester City, and Atletico Madrid or Bayern Munich could reach the finals. Atletico Madrid play Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, the 3rd of May while Manchester City face Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday, the 4th of May. The winners will be crowned champions of Europe and will take home 15 million Euros in prize money.
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