NEW YORK (April 23, 2009) – Public officials and executives representing 58 major stadiums in the U.S. last week formally confirmed interest in playing host to FIFA World Cup™ matches in 2018 or 2022, the USA Bid Committee announced today.
The respondents represent 58 venues in 49 metropolitan markets, ranging in size from New York City, where the new Meadowlands Stadium will open in 2010 in nearby East Rutherford, N.J., to college town markets from coast to coast. Three new candidates also reached out to the USA Bid Committee to express their interest, including Las Vegas, Nev., which currently does not offer a suitable stadium but requested to be included as a market for consideration.
“We are very pleased by the impressive response, and are certainly gratified by the enthusiasm and thorough understanding everyone has shown for this unique opportunity,” said David Downs, the Executive Director for the USA Bid Committee. “The benefits to a host nation, and particularly to the venue cities where the matches could be played, are numerous and lasting. Tourism, economic impact, meaningful global exposure and a legacy of being at the center of a FIFA World Cup™ competition await host venues and cities if we are fortunate enough to stage the tournament here in 2018 or 2022.”
Earlier this month, the USA Bid Committee mailed letters to public officials and executives representing 70 stadiums in more than 50 metropolitan markets. The letters outlined FIFA’s bid process and criteria for venue selection, which includes the candidate host nation providing a minimum of 12 stadiums 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.
In 1994, the U.S. used nine stadiums to host the 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.
Representatives from the Las Vegas, Nev. and the Raleigh-Durham markets, as well as Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah – none of them included in the original list of 70 venue and market candidates – have requested to be considered as hosts in 2018 or 2022. Twelve stadiums declined to be considered as potential candidates while conversations continue with representatives of two stadiums as local officials there explore various venue feasibility issues before confirming their interest.
“We will soon begin contacting all venue and metro market representatives on a one-on-one basis to ensure that their candidacy is in accordance with FIFA criteria,” Downs said. “We are looking forward to working with all the parties involved as we continue this exciting bid process.”
Highlights among the stadiums that have confirmed interest in playing host to matches in 2018 and 2022 include:
- Thirty of the 31 stadiums in the National Football League have confirmed interest. Candlestick Park, home of the San Francisco 49ers, was not listed as a candidate, meaning 100 percent of the NFL stadiums contacted by the USA Bid Committee have confirmed their candidacy.
- More than 20 stadiums have confirmed interest that are either on college campuses or serve as the primary venue for NCAA Division I college football teams.
- Two confirmed stadiums are currently home to Major League Soccer teams in the U.S. – Gillette Stadium (New England Revolution) and Qwest Field (Seattle Sounders).
- All continental United States time zones are represented by stadiums in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
The United States, Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia have formally declared their desire to host to the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only 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 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.
World Cup passion continues to be strong in the USA, demonstrated by the number of tickets assigned last week in the official FIFA’s selection draw for the first phase of ticket sales for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Outside of the host country, South Africa, the highest number of tickets drawn was to residents of the United States, with a total of 69,208 tickets. The USA had also had the highest number of online ticket applications (outside of the host country) from around the world.
The USA Bid Committee’s efforts have already earned the support of President Barack Obama, who has reached out to FIFA – the world's governing body of soccer – to endorse the efforts to bring the world’s largest sporting event back to the United States. In a letter to FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, President Obama noted the role soccer played in his life as a youth, and its ability to unite people, communities and nations from every continent.
“Hosting another successful World Cup is important for the continued growth of the sport in the United States. And it is important to me personally,” President Obama wrote in his letter. “As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together. As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters’ soccer games in Chicago.”
“Soccer is truly the world’s sport, and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe,” President Obama added. “That is why this bid is about much more than a game. It is about the United States of America inviting the world to gather all across our great country in celebration of our common hopes and dreams.”
U.S. Soccer and the USA Bid Committee announced last month 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.
ABOUT U.S. SOCCER:
Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer has helped chart the course for soccer in the USA for more than 95 years as the governing body of the sport. In this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been simple and clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport’s growth in the past two decades has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer’s National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage while also growing the game here in the United States with the support of its members. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.
ABOUT THE USA BID COMMITTEE INC.:
The USA Bid Committee is a non-profit organization created to prepare a successful application to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022 on behalf of the United States Soccer Federation. The Bid Committee will submit its comprehensive bid to FIFA by May 2010, with FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee making a decision in December 2010. Members of the USA Bid Committee include Executive Director David Downs, U.S. Soccer President and USA Bid Committee Chairman Sunil Gulati, U.S. Soccer CEO and General Secretary Dan Flynn, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Democratic National Committee National Finance Chair Philip Murphy, and former Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman (Asia) Carlos Cordeiro.