Connect with us

Leagues: MLS

World Cup Bid Host Cities Finalist Thoughts


When US Soccer and the US World Cup Bid Committee, launched “The Game is in US” campaign at the beginning of the fall, the 27 potential host cities for World Cup games were asked have petitions signed to show local fan support for the efforts.

As an analyst, I had determined my final eighteen cities would be the following.

  • Atlanta, Houston, Tampa, Orlando, Dallas, Charlotte, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Denver, St Louis Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Baltimore.
  • Cities, I felt should be cut were Miami, Jacksonville, Nashville, San Diego, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Detroit, and San Francisco.

This list was determined by demographic considerations, as well as the relative success of professional soccer in those markets as well as past support for US National Team and other international friendly matches. Additionally, modern facilities and availability of hotel rooms and tourist attractions also were considerations in my initial list.

In the case of San Francisco and Oakland, I had determined that the Oakland Coliseum, potentially renovated by the time 2018 or 2022 rolled around is better for the sport than any current venue in San Francisco.

The reason US Soccer wisely opened up the petition process was to determine which cities had the most interest in hosting a World Cup, and also to test the organization of all the cities bidding.

Here are the current numbers of signatures for each potential host city as of January 9th, 2010

Seattle 19,285

Atlanta 14,783

Houston 13,003

Philadelphia 10,849

Miami 10,805

Kansas City 10,733

Indianapolis 10,673

Tampa 7,802

Dallas 7,731

Cleveland 7,598

San Diego 5,618

Jacksonville 5,534

Charlotte  5,292

Baltimore 5,240

Orlando 5,202

Boston 4,906

Chicago 4,848

New York 4,476

Oakland 4,456

Nashville 4,406

Washington 4,148

Denver 3,769

St Louis 3,702

Los Angeles 3,332

Detroit 2,012

San Francisco 1,281

Phoenix 1,180

While it is obvious some automatic host cities like New York, Washington and Chicago do not need to fret about their potential to host World Cup matches based on the above table, some marginal cities I had in my final 18 are now going to be cut from my list. These include Orlando, Denver, Oakland and Phoenix.

Miami made most people’s final eighteen, but initially not mine. I live in the area and feared hosting the World Cup locally would simply be like another American sporting event to the local press. But impressively, Miami is in the top five for total signatures and moves into my list replacing Orlando.

More importantly, Miami is a vital tourist destination and city known the world over. The 1994 World Cup snub, in favor of Orlando has left the area leaving nothing to chance. Miami FC has been on the forefront of gathering the signatures, a sign that even if local don’t embrace professional soccer the way they should, the local team is well organized and doing a good job.

Logistics still favor Orlando however, as Miami is a geographic outlier that very well could adversely affect travel during the competition.

Kansas City and Indianapolis are geographically close to one another and provide the ability to have a regional “pod” of matches with Chicago, and St Louis so they move into my list replacing Denver and Phoenix.

Regarding Oakland, I just could not see a nationwide event of epic proportions being held without the San Francisco Bay Area represented, so I moved them back on my list (after tentatively taking them off).

Looking again at the list itself, we’ve already discussed Miami, which is in the top five overall, but I think it is most important to note how successful Houston, Philadelphia and Seattle have been. Not only does MLS draw more interest in those cities than in the markets where the league has been longer term, but the teams and their fans are more organized as evidenced by this list. The fan power in these cities outweighs that of established MLS cities, except for Kansas City, whose showing as we noted above is impressive.

Atlanta, the other city in the top five, is a no brainer for any major sporting event after having so successfully hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics. With the Atlanta Silverbacks returning to the professional fold for the 2011 NASL season, the city is  a lock to host World Cup matches.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $9.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
110+ channels, live & on-demand
  • Price: $59.95/mo. for Plus Package
  • Includes FOX, FS1, ESPN, TUDN & more



  1. Suchita

    June 29, 2010 at 8:01 am

    awesome fifa 2010

  2. Phil

    January 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Baltimore is a great city, Soccer is massive here, the world soccer challenge showed that Ravens stadium is an ideal location to hold a world cup event.

  3. Cavan

    January 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Baltimore is a good pick. Good stadium. Soccer-friendly place.

    • Cavan

      January 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm

      plus it’s easy to get to. Good infrastructure with some public transit.

  4. Joe in Indianapolis

    January 12, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Way to go, Indianapolis!!! Now attract USL/NASL investors!

  5. Miami Ultra

    January 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I meant MLB-strike above.

  6. Miami Ultra

    January 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Miami is about a much of a lock as you can get. The only reason games weren’t here in ’94 is because the Marlins were playing at the stadium(pre-MLS strike) and the Orange Bowl was showing it’s age. Plus Dolphin Stadium will likely be receiving a partial roof and plenty of other bells and whistles in order to keep the Super Bowl coming to town.

    Say what you want about the support for pro soccer down here, but the international game is well supported. And the WC would be a HUGE deal here.

    • zhe fulano

      January 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm

      Correct on all counts.

      Asking fans to come to twenty games in the summer’s 90 degree plus heat might not be attractive to some (to support a team), but that argument would be relevant to Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta and most southern cities. On the other hand, coming out to attend a small but significant number of World Cup games is anther proposition altogether. Miami’s has a significant fan base by virtue of the truly internationally diverse community. The fans come out in strong numbers when international games are played locally. They will come out in strong numbers to support a World Cup.

      And soccer is both well played and well supported locally. Local high schools and clubs long have excelled.

      It would be a major mistake to give Miami the shaft again.

      P.S. If MLS adopts the FIFA preferred European season, Miami will be the best place in the solar system for an MLS team.

  7. Jack in TX

    January 11, 2010 at 11:27 am

    St Louis’ elimination would be a shock with Anheuser-Busch as the largest US sponsor of the WC and the USMNT. Houston is a good choice with the exception of the summer heat and humidity, although I’ll admit that Florida and Atlanta aren’t any better.

    • WonsanUnited

      January 11, 2010 at 4:29 pm

      Don’t forget that Reliant Stadium has a retractable roof, so I don’t think the heat and humidity will take its toll.

      • Jack in TX

        January 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm

        Good point. That would be the only place in Houston where it should be played. Not that crap pitch at Robertson Stadium on which the Dynamo play.

  8. james

    January 11, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Correct me if I am wrong but the only stadiums that could fit a proper size field of 120 x 80 yards, which is what FIFA wants are in LA and Miami. Even here in Tampa we meet the minium of size 110 x 70. The majority of the US stadiums are made for American Style football not international football. When Joe Robbie built his stadium he made it so it could host the World Cup.

    • Kartik Krishnaiyer

      January 11, 2010 at 11:57 am

      Joe Robbie was built specifically with the World Cup in mind and conforms to the maximum dimensions. Not sure about LA- I think they are also smallish.

  9. timmyg

    January 11, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Which DC location are we discussing here? RFK or FedEx?

    RFK is storied, but a dump. FedEx has the worst game-day experience in the NFL, is owned by Dan Synder, and located in Landover, MD — barely even on the Metro line.

  10. Jeff

    January 11, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Swap out Miami, KC, and Nashville for Charlotte, Orlando, and Denver and I think that’s correct.

  11. Tyson

    January 11, 2010 at 2:11 am


  12. idahosa

    January 11, 2010 at 12:55 am

    first of all Los Angeles should have a chance at hosting some of the games in the world cup..i mean when barcelona came and played the galaxy at the rose bown…every seat was filled in the 95,000+ stadium i mean a world cup without LA wouldnt be right…same with NYC i mean yea but Seattle should have some games too…the cities who should get it are

    new york
    san diego
    and boston

  13. sucka99

    January 10, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    you know what this site needs? email comment subscriptions and/or registrations. at the least gravatars

    • The Gaffer

      January 10, 2010 at 11:58 pm

      Sucka99, I agree about the e-mail comment subscriptions. I’ll add that to my list. As for gravatars, we have them. Just visit, register your avatar there and then your future posts here should include your avatar.

      The Gaffer

  14. sucka99

    January 10, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    SF might have a new football stadium (in Santa Clara) by 2018!

  15. Seybold

    January 10, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    I’d add LA and Houston to the shoe-in cities of NY, Chicago and DC, due to size and population.

    I doubt the signature totals will have much impact, none of them are all that impressive, even if Seattle (where I live) came first.

    Is SF bidding for itself? I struggle to see a good location there, whereas Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto was a great location for the 1994 WC. Is that even being considered?

  16. mike

    January 10, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    charlotte? pssh, whatever. oakland and san francisco should be counted as one.




  17. Joey Clams

    January 10, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Much will depend on whether Fifa will allow the US to use more than 12 stadiums.

  18. WonsanUnited

    January 10, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I think your missing stadium aesthetics here. The Citrus Bowl is a dump and should be torn down and should never ever host another World Cup match. St. Louis shouldn’t get it because their stadium sucks too. Just a boring old dome, unlike the Georgia Dome or Ford Field. I have a feeling Keynesian theory is going to play a role in Detroit getting a few matches. So take out Orlando and St. Louis and put in Detroit and Miami. You also need Kansas City in there so there’s something in the Midwest, so I think Baltimore will get snubbed for Kansas City.

    • The Gaffer

      January 10, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      The Citrus Bowl was a dump in ’94, but they still played the World Cup games there 🙁

      The Gaffer

      • Kartik Krishnaiyer

        January 10, 2010 at 8:44 pm

        I was tat the Citrus Bowl last week for a bowl game and it was horrible, both the stadium and the field.

        Yet the guys in line with me into the stadium told me they looked forward to another World Cup there because Disney will ensure that if the US wins the big, they’ll get it. I am hoping it is not that simple, and other factors are considered.

        • short passes

          January 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm

          The local environment should have some bearing on the decision. When Orlando hosted in 94 the local media and politicians were less than suppportive. They actually talked about bringing in National Guard to control the “hooligans”. I lived there at the time and the media (Orlando Sentinel) was awful. Keep the WC out of Orlando !!!!!

  19. Oscar

    January 10, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Kartik’s Blind spot strikes again. Here’s my impression of his thought process:

    “Seattle trounces the 2nd place city by 4500 signatures. That’s a whopping ONE THIRD of Atlanta’s total votes. Clearly, I should talk about anything but Seattle dominating.”

    • Lars

      January 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      Or it’s just assumed Seattle is a shoe in and doesn’t need to be mentioned.

      People from Seattle are a pack of whiners. Stop demanding the world, you guys aren’t the original soccer city in this country. Give it up.

      St. Louis and D.C. would take that title before your city any day of the week.

    • Eric in Baltimore

      January 12, 2010 at 5:09 pm

      Really? You’re going to base some kind of competition of real people / soccer culture on an internet vote? Nerd.

  20. peter_tfc

    January 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I’m all for Detroit or Cleveland, if only because it’s closer to where I live in Canada; though Buffalo would be ideal. Detroit should have a USL/NASL team considering how strong their regional PDL teams tend to be – Michigan Bucks, West Michigan, etc.

  21. Ryan

    January 10, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I live in Atlanta, but would love to see a WC match in Nashville. The support at the T&T WCQ game was awesome, the stadium is beautiful (and natural grass), and there are still plenty of hotels and attractions to be had.

    • The Gaffer

      January 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

      Miami should be a done-deal over Orlando except for the fact that Disney owns ESPN, and ESPN has the TV rights to the World Cup through 2014. It’s possible that ESPN and Disney may get the vote, which would be in their best interests especially if ESPN gains the rights to the World Cup beyond 2014.

      The Gaffer

    • short passes

      January 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      Totally agree Ryan. Nashville handled the T&T game superbly and had a great turnout. Plus the field is real grass. Nashville should be rated above St. Louis (where I’m from) because of the artifical turf venue here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Leagues: MLS

Translate »