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World Cup USA 1994 was the most successful event in FIFA history, demonstrating that the United States is without peer in staging major international events, and that Americans can embrace the world’s most popular sport.
The cumulative attendance of 3,587,538 broke the previous record by more than 1 million, and the average attendance for the 52-game tournament of 68,991 also established a new mark. U.S. stadia were filled to approximately 96 percent capacity during the World Cup.
The success of the U.S. team, which advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 1930, helped boost already high U.S. television ratings. Approximately 11 million Americans were tuned in to the USA vs. Brazil round of 16 match on July 4, an all-time high for soccer in the United States.
In the final, after a scoreless regulation and overtime, Brazil defeated Italy on penalty kicks 3-2 to become the first country to win four World Cup titles.
World Cup matches were played at nine venues — the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. (including the final); Foxboro (Mass.) Stadium; Soldier Field in Chicago; the Cotton Bowl in Dallas; the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome; Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.; the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.; Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif.; and RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
World Cup USA 1994 also left behind a legacy for soccer in the U.S. A surplus of approximately $50 million — more than double original projections — was contributed to the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the U.S. Soccer organization created to administer the World Cup surplus. Improved training facilities and renovated stadiums in World Cup communities, upgraded to meet FIFA standards, will serve as a reminder of the success of World Cup USA 1994 for years to come.