World Cup Bid Final Cities Announced (UPDATED)

I’ll have much more later on the final decisions, but the below map courtesy of US Soccer will tell you which cities have been selected.


Since yesterday’s announcement of the eighteen World Cup host cities that the US World Cup Bid Committee will submit to FIFA, much has been made of the omission of Chicago. The Midwestern city is after all the home to US Soccer, and the third largest metroplex in the country.

As detailed extensively by Tom Dunmore over at Pitch Invasion, Chicago’s political leadership did not make the most basic effort to secure hosting rights. The US Bid Committee and USSF had little choice but to turn down Chicago.

The standard for choosing venues while somewhat subjective, still requires compliance from local authorities and the support of local businesses: something Chicago completely failed to do. When you consider their were cities cut yesterday that had well organized bid committees (unlike Chicago) and had gained more GO USA BID petition signatures that Chicago, the committee absolutely did the right thing.

But to me the more shocking omission was the lack of a venue from the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1994, World Cup matches were hosted in Palo Alto’s Stanford Stadium, which has since been renovated and cannot be used for international soccer except in rare instances. The other two venues submitted are aging and less than ideal facilities.

The Bay Area’s omission is more damaging for the US bid than Chicago’s. While Chicago has long been the second leading economic engine in the country (behind New York), San Francisco is maybe the most famous US city besides New York to those from abroad, and the area is also the home to the new high tech economy that has shaped the last decade plus of world history.

The Bay Area is also one of the leading tourist destinations in the US, and has become one of the leading international economic juggernauts. Couple that with a nice climate in June/July, the area is always a natural venue for big events.

The most surprising selections from my vantage point were those of San Diego’s aging Qualcomm Stadium as a venue in the formal bid, as well as the selection of Indianapolis.

Earlier in the week on the site we did detail how successful Indianapolis was in gathering signatures for the GO USA BID. Still, it will be very easy for the cutdown from 18 to 12 should the US be awarded the 2018 or 2022 World Cup to include Midwest outliers Indianapolis and Kansas City. But then again, KC is not that far from Dallas, and Indy isn’t really that far from Nashville.

The bid committee had a difficult task, but made the most appropriate choices possible. While we lament the demise of Chicago and the Bay Area, it is important to recognize the contributions made in the winning bid cities. Those include contributions by fans, local professional clubs (both MLS & NASL), and the youth soccer community and of course the political/business leadership of each city. They ultimately all did something; Chicago could not do or perhaps was unwilling to do, so congratulations to them.

50 thoughts on “World Cup Bid Final Cities Announced (UPDATED)”

  1. Nashville was a shocker. Nothing against that city, and it would definitely add a nice touch to a big tournament. Personally, I was shocked that Tampa and Miami got the votes. I was expecting one Florida city and that would have been Orlando. Two World Cup bid cities in one state but no MLS team in Florida? What’s up with that? 😉

    The Gaffer

    1. with respect…

      Of course, Chicago is a shocker. I don’t know what’s going on there, but Chicago seems to be having difficulty getting its stuff together. First the Olympics and now this. One has to wonder if the bid committee didn’t want Mayor Daley around to help screw up an otherwise strong bid (even if not as strong without his city). My mom lives there and is one of many people tired of Daley and his corruption (his own, not his late father’s). Still it’s puzzling.

      As far as Nashville being a shocker. I can completely understand people from some other cities being surprised by Nashville’s inclusion. But shocked? I don’t understand how you can see Orlando and Charlotte as making the cut and then are shocked by Nashville making it…

      Orlando’s stadium is a complete dump–and there are a ton of much nicer stadiums that have been built since 1994 when they last hosted.

      Charlotte’s bid, meanwhile, was very iffy. For a while the city had started to withdraw their bid, then it was back on, but they let it be known that they might rescind their bid if they decided it became too expensive to pursue:

      Meanwhile, Nashville has a great facility (LP Field), has hosted several USMNT events in recent years, is centrally located in the region w/in short drive to numerous metros, has huge parks in works for area surrounding LP Field with lots more area modifiable for events related to hosting game, has experience hosting large events (CMA Music Fest draws about 200k over 4 days each yr), has hotels/entertainment all there together in walkable area.

      From what I hear this isn’t just about having an MLS level city or being the larger city. It’s about being ideal for what will be a days long festival alongside the games as well. I’m no fan of country music (shock), but that perhaps that festival gives Nashville a leg up on its peer cities in some ways.

      A surprise for people outside of Nashville I can buy. A shock? Not if you are paying attention.


      1. I haven’t looked at the other stadium sizes but that might be it with Chicago. It is a good stadium(I was there for the June game against Honduras) but it is only 61,500. For other countries thats rather large but we have dozens of stadiums in the US that are 70,000+.

  2. I know people are shocked about Indy but this city will be an awesome host. I believe people will be very surprised how big of a sports town we are after the super bowl in 2012. The downtown area where Lucas Oil Stadium is located is one of the most walkable areas in the US with almost every hotel linked up to the city’s convention center and to the stadium. Indy has been host to a myriad of world class events over the last 2 decades.

  3. The lack of Chicago is the most surprising thing about the final cities. The selection of Nashville and Indy are a close second though…
    Two Florida and Texas sites are no shock; all four have major airports. The summer heat and humidity there will be quite a shock for some teams…

    1. A joke really by the USSF to exclude Chicago. Sure blame Daley, he truly cares less about anything but his own power base. Yet, the USSF has made a huge mistake not to draw Chicago into the mix. It’s status as a international soccer city is well known. A city that hosted the opening game of the 94 Cup, a second home to the Mexican and Polish and Irish National teams, host of Gold Cup finals, international friendlies, WCQ, and a city that has seen the likes of Man U., Chelsea, and Everton all play here in recent years.

      Many people in other countries will be shocked my the omission. Many people around the world have a family connection with Chicago. Go to Mexico, Italy, Germany, Poland, Serbia, Ireland, India, Pakistan, etc., and you find families that have a branch in Chicago. This is a natural connection with a international event that the USSF has thrown it out the window. Ok, be mad at Mayor Daley, but do not shoot yourself in the foot because of it. The bid is dead from the start. Shame on the USSF.

  4. No Chicago or SF Bay Area? Terrible. Those are the two best cities in the country other than New York. World Cup Bid Committee final cities list EPIC FAIL.

  5. Not having San Francisco bay area hurts. We have a huge fan base. I know that the Oakland Colosseum and Candlestick Park are major dumps…but come on!!! How do we lose out to Nashville and Kansas City!!?!

    1. Stadium woes have plagued the Bay Area for decades, going back to the late ’70s when the Raiders held Oakland hostage before moving to LA. The only significant stadium construction since that time has been Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T Park in San Francisco and the new Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto. Both projects relied on little to no public funding — a local requirement given that is very had to get voters in this area of California to approve money for such proposals. Oakland Colosseum did undergo significant renovations prior to the return of the Raiders in 1995, and that was done primarily with public money. A poor return on investment for the City of Oakland, that fiasco has soured the lcal mood to fund stadiums even further.

      Our current facilities in the Bay Area are not suitable for hosting the World Cup. Oakland and San Francisco feature aging buildings designed originally as baseball stadiums, before being modified into multi-use facilities. The seating and aesthetics don’t make sense for soccer’s feature event. A proposed new 49ers stadium would be capable — and be ready by 2018 or 2022 if construction started soon, but that project has not progressed past the planning stages. The new Stanford Stadium holds only 50K and is not wide enough by FIFA standards, though it has hosted Club friendlies in years past. The old stadium was big enough, but was a relic from the early 20th century.

      The US bid committee and FIFA are going to want state-of-the-art buildings to host the World Cup. The Bay Area cannot satisfy those demands, and will be left to watch the event take place elsewhere. A definite blow to the local soccer community, but not surprising in the least.

      Road trip to LA anyone?

  6. ok, having a bad day anyway, but the USSF is not the only one that has forgot Chicago, I’m looking for news here about the Fire naming De los Cobos manager. Message to both coasts, we play soccer in Chicago.

  7. No Chicago? 2 SoCal locations? Baltimore and DC? No Bay Area? No Bay Area makes travel even worse for anyone having to play in Seattle–LA is what, 1100 miles away? At least SF is only 800.

    Having attended games in the Bay Area in 1994, I’m shocked. This list is nice for anyone in the Baltimore/DC/Philly area, that’s for sure.

  8. Miami and Tampa could not even support MLS and Atlanta never will. Indianapolis and Nashville don’t even have D2 or D3 teams.

    A total joke. MLS cities should have been given preference.

    The 16 MLS cities in the US plus Phoenix and Orlando would be the most logical list.

  9. How about additional information about how the # of cities would be narrowed if the USA wins the bid? It’s 9-12 host cities as I recall, is that FIFA’s call or the USSF’s call?

  10. Indy wuznt a big shock tome. theyve hosted plenty of big sporting events, like final fours, big ten toourneys( which it host every year instead of switching every year with chicago which wuz how they did it in the past)) and soon the super bowl.

    Its always been known for its ability to host big events and im sure it’ll be a success

  11. Stadium size an excuse in Chicago. USSF must have the same people writing their stuff as Mark McGuire. I’ll accept the local group did nothing but you had to look beyond that.

  12. I, too, am shocked that Chicago didn’t make it. I’m disappointed but not surprised that the Bay Area didn’t.

    However, let’s not badmouth the cities that did. Chicago and San Francisco are obviously luminous cities but you’d be surprised how intrigued visitors are with our less glamorous spots. Not everyone is seeking taquerias and Sikh restaurants, with all due respect. People still visit the US hoping to soak up a little of that hard-to-define Americana.

    Still, no Chicago is a mind-blower.

  13. Tommy this is not about MLS or any pro soccer for that matter. This is the WORLD CUP. They need big time cities that support the international game. Sorry but Salt Lake City and Columbus won’t cut it. Miami was 5th is petition signatures. Tampa was pretty good as well. Just because Florida got stuck with a bum owner(Miami) or no owner(Tampa) in it’s first foray into MLS doesn’t mean soccer isn’t well supported here. Plus you seem to be forgetting South Florida and Tampa were both great NASL(the original one) markets.

    Congrats to all the other cities that made the cut and hopefully we actually get the Cup.

  14. There was some serious burnout after trying to get the Olympics to Chicago–so I think people were just tired of “begging” for a spot. I would have been thrilled to see something come to Indianapolis.

    See my radio interview with Beckham last week about his tatts, Capello, the World Cup and why his nickname is “goldenballs”:

  15. Miami Ultra is straight on. I am a native of the West Coast of FLA and grew up loving the Rowdies. MLS pulled out of Tampa due to 1. Lack of ownership and 2. Glazer family not willing to give the Mutiny a break on stadium rent.
    Joe Robbie built Dolphin Stadium with his own money and made sure it was big enough to host the World Cup in 1994. He died. Then came the Marlins and Miami was shut out.

    Looking at the cities only Miami and LA have stadiums with proper size fields. The vast majority of the NFL stadiums do not meet the proper size of 120 x 80. Look at Fed Ex, Jerry’s World in Dallas, Luke Oil field, etc. they are all 110 x 70. Proper size field= a great game.

      1. IIRC, both the LA Colosseum and the Rose Bowl would have pitches on the small side. They are after all the oldest stadia on the list; even without the original Olympic track, the LA Colosseum playing surface is a bit small for soccer, as is the Rose Bowl.

        I would be surprised if the new NFL stadia in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, etc., can’t at least accommodate 110 x 75 plus the extra empty space on the sides for media people and officials (this issue has been done to death on Big Soccer and other places: I don’t recall the actual figures).

        Apart from some of the oldest stadia on the list, I don’t think FIFA stadia regulations are going to be a huge problem.

    1. Where are you getting those figures from?

      Even a casual look from TV shows that most of the new NFL stadia have considerably more empty space between the stands and the gridiron than the old stadia they replaced had.

  16. I thought most of the new NFL stadia were built with international soccer in mind; and I also thought 120 x 80 was on the verge of being too big? Isn’t 110 x 75 closer to being typical?

    * * *

    And knock it off with the Florida bashing (there’s always at least one of you in these threads). There were certain clubs in MLS that had lower attendance than Miami or Tampa Bay, who were not cut. MLS contraction in 2001 had nothing to do with lack of fan support.

    Tampa and Miami will easily sell out all of their World Cup matches, and they have major international airports and all the other necessary infrastructure. The fact that MLS screwed the pooch in Florida has no bearing on our World Cup bid.

  17. Why are people acting like the US won’t get the WC because Chicago isn’t in the bid? Tokyo wasn’t in the Japan/Korea bid in 2002 and they still got it.

    1. Yeah but Korea/Japan were not really bidding against anyone else… only Mexico supposedly but Mexico had already hosted twice and FIFA had declared Asia was getting it anyways under their continental rotation system. So really Japan wasn’t bidding against anyone and they did not have to put their best foot forward to win the hosting.

      Here, USA is going up against heavy favorites England in 2018 and really strong competition from Russia and Australia for 2022. Not including SF or Chicago is really shooting ourselves in the foot.

      No offense to the other cities but there is a ton of cities on this list that are just redundant – ie Baltimore is unnecessary considering all the other east coast cities on the list, and San Diego is unnecessary b/c LA is also on the list. I love Baltimore and SD but they are redundant here.

  18. Kartik: Everything everyone may say about the lack of local support in Chicago is true. Still, however you want to cut it the USSF needs Chicago for the bid. Silly on their part.

  19. usa2010: Most of the ground would require widening. That includes Houston, Dallas, Denver, DC, Philly, New Meadowlands, Kansas City. Phoenix appears fine. Seattle might have to make room for advertising signs. Nashville is perfect, as are Foxboro, Miami and Tampa. San Diego would have to make a little room but cutting back on the retractable seats. The LA Coliseum won’t be used so the fact that it’s too narrow is on big deal. Indy might need a stretch. Baltimore seems fine. Atlanta may need to do some carving in the corners.

    And don’t kid yourselves: that fields WILL have to be widened.

    1. I don’t know FIFAs requirements, but Seattle has state of the art electronic advertising on the walls surrounding the field in addition to signs they put down.

  20. Looking at things from here in England I would be astonished if San Francisco is more famous internationally than Los Angeles. I’m not even certain it is more famous internationally than Las Vegas.

    1. It’s considred more tourist friendly. It’s California’s first big city – LA only really emerged in the twentieth century. And it’s the most popular American city among international visitors. LA, through becoming the world entertainment capital, is certainly among the three cities that everyone mentions when they’re talking about big, bad, brash American towns. Vegas? When I was a kid it was no bigger than Warwick, Rhode Island.

  21. Stanford was a great place to have it last time, the stadium seating was not nice like that however. The renovations took the track out and moved the seats in.
    We were a long ways back. But I liked being in San Fran and the commute to Stanford on the train was free and fun.
    It didnt hurt that we saw Brazil and a guy set a record with 5 goals in one game.

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