The U.S. is Hosting a Soccer Tournament in 2016?

By | April 26, 2016

Should the U.S. be Hosting the Copa América Centenario?

Land of the free, home of the brave and the infrastructure for mega events.

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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.

2 thoughts on “The U.S. is Hosting a Soccer Tournament in 2016?

  1. Mousa Alshanteer

    I very much appreciated this entry on the U.S. hosting Copa América Centenario. Although it is sanctioned by the South American Football Confederation, rather than the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football of which the United States is a member, I believe that the Copa América will significantly benefit the popularity of soccer within the United States. First, the 45th edition of the Copa América is set to mark the centenary of the South American Football Confederation. So, the fact that it will be the first edition of the Copa América hosted outside of South America is especially significant. Second, the Copa América Centenario will transpire across the country, bringing soccer to 24 of the most populous areas within which soccer is much less popular than other sports. Third, the Copa América Centenario will arguably be the second most popular soccer tournament held within the United States since the 1994 World Cup, attracting record-breaking numbers of spectators, both in person and via television. Furthermore, in this day and age, within which social media use is unprecedented, soccer may be become the talk of town across the country the first time in recent memory. It will be interesting to see how the Copa América Centenario will play out in terms of its effect upon the popularity of soccer within the United States.

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  2. Benjamin Jackson

    Good Post! I think a key determinate of the success of this tournament will be fans attendance, specifically international fans. I think many US fans will go see the games, but it will be interesting to see if international people travel to see this game and cheer on their team. The United States is geographically so far removed from the other nations competing it will be much more expensive and therefore less likely for fans to make the journey to cheer on the teams. Also, I know tickets are going for a much as $70 for the cheapest seats, dissuading many casual fans from attending. The Copa America Cententario officially should consider either lowering the prices, or doing some sort of ticket give away to incentive the casual sports van to come to see the games. Despite these facts, the US is expecting large crowds, as they required all stadiums for which the games will be played to have occupancies over 60,000. For the sake of the tournament and the future prospects of hosting large scale international competitions in the United Staes I hope this tournament is an economic success.

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