NEW YORK (April 8, 2009) – The USA Bid Committee mailed letters last week to public officials and stadium operators in metropolitan markets across the United States in an initial and important step toward preparing a formal bid to play host to the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022.
In all, 70 stadiums in more than 50 metropolitan markets are in consideration, ranging in market size from New York City, where the new Meadowlands Stadium will open in 2010 in nearby East Rutherford, N.J., to college town markets such as Lincoln, Neb., and Fayetteville, Ark. The outreach by U.S. Soccer and the USA Bid Committee truly represents a national campaign to welcome the return of the world’s most popular sporting event to the United States, with the comprehensive mix of metro markets and world class venues representing a chief asset of the U.S. bid.
“The United States is uniquely qualified to stage the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022 as demonstrated by the dozens of metropolitan markets with venues capable of staging World Cup matches in every respect, from the quality of their stadiums to their overall ability to accommodate thousands of fans, news media and visitors from around the world,” said Gulati. “We will soon begin discussions with officials from throughout the U.S. in the name of presenting a world class proposal to FIFA and the global soccer community.”
The letters mailed last week from the USA Bid Committee to public officials and stadium operators throughout the United States outline the bid process and criteria for venue selection. FIFA calls for each bidding nation to propose a minimum of 12 stadiums, each capable of seating 40,000 or more spectators. Stadiums with a minimum capacity of 80,000 are required by FIFA for consideration to play host to the Opening Match and Final Match. Out of the 70 stadiums under consideration, more than 65 have a capacity above 60,000, and more than 20 have a capacity above 80,000.
In 1994, nine U.S. stadiums were used when the United States played host to FIFA World Cup, which then featured a 24-team and 52-match format compared to today’s field of 32 nations competing in 64 matches. Despite the smaller field and schedule of matches in 1994, the United States set an overall attendance mark of 3,587,538, a record that broke the previous tournament mark by more than one million fans and still stands today.
The 70 stadiums identified by the USA Bid Committee as candidates to play host to World Cup matches in 2018 or 2022 include National Football League stadiums, college football stadiums, and domed and retractable roof stadiums. The 70 stadiums represent 31 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Among the list of stadiums that are under consideration for the bid are historic venues such as:
- Soldier Field in Chicago, site of the Opening Match of the FIFA World Cup in 1994.
- The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., site of the Final Match FIFA World Cup in 1994.
- The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the Olympic Summer Games in 1932 and 1984.
- Lambeau Field, the legendary home to the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.
- Numerous time-honored college football stadiums, including Notre Dame Stadium, Michigan Stadium and the Yale Bowl.
- Stadiums still under construction, including the new Meadowlands Stadium, the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium and the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
The deadline for the USA Bid Committee to hear from officials representing candidate markets and venues is Friday, April 17.
The United States is one of nine candidate nations that have formally declared their desire to host to the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. The others are Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia, with joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain. Qatar and South Korea have applied only as candidates to play host to the tournament in 2022.
FIFA has set May 2010 as the deadline for countries to submit their final paperwork to play host to the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee will then study the bids, conduct site visits and name the two hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.
U.S. Soccer and the USA Bid Committee last week announced that former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger accepted an invitation to join the USA Bid Committee and play a leadership role in the nation’s candidacy to play host to FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022.
“The support and commitment of Dr. Kissinger is extremely significant and representative of the spirit that will drive our U.S. bid from this day forward,” said Gulati. “We will continue introduce new leadership to the USA Bid Committee in the weeks ahead to show the nation, and the world, how serious and determined we are to bring the World Cup here in 2018 or 2022.”