In September, the FIFA World Cup bid delegation, headed by Harold Mayne-Nicholls, will visit 5 United States football venues. The FIFA officials trip to the US is scheduled from September 6 to 9 and will visit exclusively east coast venues due to time constraints.
The six-man delegation will be visiting and inspecting the New York, Washington, Miami, Dallas, Houston stadiums. The US bidding committee headed by Sunil Gulati (USA Bid Committee Chairman and U.S. Soccer President) put a significant efforts in hosting the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. The committee chose 18 cities in 21 venues to host the World Cup, should they win either of the bids. The average capacity of 12 of them can accomodate between 75.000 to 94.000 fans.
The FIFA officials will travel to the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, near Washington DC, Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Cowboys Stadium in Arlington near Dallas and Reliant Stadium in Houston.
I mentioned in a previous articles that football in the US is growing. Not only the fan base is increasing, but the marketing means and investment are tremendous. A couple of key facts:
- 24.4 million – The US has the second largest number of players in the world with 24.4 million people and 4.1 million who are registered.
- 16.9 million – 16.9 million people in the US watched the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ Final. Viewers included 11.9 million on ABC and 5 million on Univision.
- Thierry Henry signed a 4.5 year contract with the New York Red Bulls, followed by Rafael Marquez.
- The Ghana – USA game counted 19.4 million US viewers, the best US audience ever after the Brazil – Italy World Cup Final in 1994.
The FIFA delegation already visited Japan, South Korea Australia and will continue its tour of the bidding countries with the Netherlands and Belgium on August 9 to 12. The FIFA executive committee will decide on the winner of both bids on December 2.
*US Bidding cities: Georgia, Boston, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New-York, Philadelphia, Phoenix-Glendale, Seattle, San Diego, Tampa, Washington.