Indy makes World Cup venue list

 

Indianapolis will be one of the 18 cities included as part of USA’s bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, it has just been announced.

If the Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts, is chosen to host matches, the city would stand to see an economic impact of between $300-$500 million, according to Indiana Sports Corporation, which is behind the bid.

The stadium, completed in 2008, has a seating capacity of 64,200, which can be expanded to 70,000 (as will be the case for the Superbowl in 2012).

US Soccer will present its bid to FIFA on May 14, and the hosts for 2018 and 2022 will be chosen on December 2. It will be the first time FIFA will name two hosts the same day.

If the US is successful, the list of 18 cities will be trimmed down to 12 prior to the event.

The list of cities/stadiums is as follows:

Atlanta (Georgia Dome)
Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium)
Boston (Gillette Stadium)
Dallas (Cowboys Stadium and Cotton Bowl)
Denver (Invesco Field)
Houston (Reliant Stadium)
Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium)
Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium)
Los Angeles (Rose Bowl and L.A. Memorial Coliseum)
Miami (Land Shark Field)
Nashville (LP Field)
New York/New Jersey (New Meadowlands Stadium)
Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field)
Phoenix (University of Phoenix Stadium)
San Diego (Qualcomm Stadium)
Seattle (Qwest Field and Husky Stadium)
Tampa (Raymond James Stadium)
Washington, DC (FedEx Field)

It has to be said: The list of stadiums remaining is impressive and unmatched by any country in the world. Seven of them can seat more than 80,000 and 14 were built in the past 20 years.

However, there were some eyebrows raised following the omission of Chicago and San Francisco, while others eliminated included Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville, Oakland, Orlando and St. Louis.

Four of the above mentioned (Chicago, Detroit, Orlando and San Francisco) were host cities during the 1994 World Cup, with Soldier Field staging the first game of the tournament, and five games in total.

David Downs, executive director of the bid committee, said Chicago balked at making financial guarantees that could have cost taxpayers about $10 million. The news of its exclusion comes less than three months after its failed bid for the 2016 Olympic Games.

According to the USA Bid Committee, official host cities were chosen based on a set of 21 different criteria, although its rationale wasn’t explained. Pitch size and overlay, hotel space and the history of each city related to soccer were supposed to be determining factors.

Another factor may also have been the support Indianapolis received through the bid committee’s online petition, with over 11,000 fans so far supporting the city’s inclusion.

Downs said it was “very difficult” to reduce the field to the maximum of 18.

“We consider it a meaningful indicator of the significant growth of soccer in this country that we can put forth such a technically sound bid without four of our cities that served as hosts for the first World Cup in the United States in 1994,” he said.

The average attendance for that particular tournament was 69,000, while the total attendance was 3.6 million, the record for the highest attendance in World Cup history. It was also the highest-attended single sport event in the country.

Nations who have expressed an interest in both World Cups are Australia, England, Russia, Japan, and the United States, while Belgium/Netherlands and Portugal/Spain are bidding jointly. South Korea, Indonesia and Qatar are interested in bidding for 2022 only.

With Brazil already chosen to host the competition in 2014, and the likelihood of a European nation hosting in 2018, the USA would seem to have a more realistic chance of being successful in its 2022 bid.

You can find out more about the US bid by visiting www.gousabid.com.

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