Should the U.S. be Hosting the Copa América Centenario?
Land of the free, home of the brave and the infrastructure for mega events.
There exists a constant chatter that the U.S. stands isolated from the rest of a football centric world. The word we use for the sport, soccer, illustrates our isolation and contrarian nature that supplements our inability to use the metric system. The tides have been changing in recent years with the popularization of soccer in the United States, particularly illustrated by the rise of youth academies, Major League Soccer Clubs and global soccer broadcasting consumption. Indeed the ground is ripe for a soccer starved nation to feed on an incredible tournament with the world’s greats, such as Messi. Well America, you are in luck because during the Summer of 2016, the United States will host the 100th anniversary of the the Copa America, in a special iteration combined with the Gold Cup, to form Copa America Centenario. Just why is the U.S. hosting? Read on to get excited
Fundamentally, there is a financial underpinning to the rationale behind the U.S. hosting. The U.S. plays a critical role in providing a lucrative market for the commercialization of media and marketing rights. The organizations created to promote and govern throughout the world found itself increasingly intertwined with the U.S. as sports marketing companies enabled the generation of unprecedented profits through the sale of media rights to soccer matches. The increased revenue and profits were derived the contractual relationships with an array of broadcasters and advertisers many of whom are based in the U.S. On the darker side of this lucrative coin was that of corruption and greed, whereby the corruption of the enterprise arose and flourished in this context. As exposed by the 2015 U.S. Department of Justice Indictment of soccer officials, executives and businessmen,incredibly large sums of money were being illegally shuffled around the world to the tune of $300 million for one particular deal. In the wake of soccer executive corruption scandals that rocked the integrity of these commercialization rights with bribery, racketeering and money laundering there is a sense of legitimacy that the U.S. is able to provide with improved governance structure to bring greater accountability and transparency to the event.
The United States is an ideal venue for the Copa America as it as the Infrastructure and transportation hubs in dozens of U.S. cities to absorb thousands of spectators, the venues with capacity of more than 50,000, coverage and support of spectators. It is a perfect storm of scale and star power for the world’s largest media market. Key levers for the tournament will be attendance, ticket sales and U.S. market awareness. Ticket sales are projected to be between 1.5 to 2 million fan attendance for 32 individual matches. There is a projected value of 4.83 million euros. Additionally there will be top market value players playing center stage, such as Messi, Luis Suarex and James Rodrigues. It is projected to be twice as successful as Copa America 2015. The TV and digital engagements will allow for global in person engagement. The top ten most followed Copa America Players have a combined following of over half a billion across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The Summer of 2015 will be filled with continental tournaments around the globe, most notably the UEFA Champions League Championship and the Copa América Centenario. If you are a sub-par consumer of soccer like myself, you would find yourself ignorant of the happening of this latter tournament and even more surprised that it is happening in the United States. That’s right the tournament is being held in the United States when it is the tournament for a organization that the U.S. is not apart of (CONMEBOL). The reason for the location is multi-fold, namely financial but additionally a tangible unification of North and South America via Soccer.
Read on to discover the Financial Scandal the rocked the Copa America Centenario.