It’s confirmed. The 2016 Copa America, the 100th anniversary edition of the tournament, will be held in the United States.
The prestigious South American soccer championship, run by CONMEBOL, will partner with CONCACAF to host many of the best countries from both regions in the tournament, which will be played across the United States from June 3-26 in various venues.
Copa America Centenario will feature the following countries:
• Peru, and
In addition to the CONMEBOL countries, USA and Mexico are automatic qualifiers. Costa Rica and Jamaica will also participate. Lastly, the two final teams will be determined via a playoff to be played in the near future.
Earlier this year, 24 metropolitan areas showed interest in hosting matches during the tournament and submitted a proposal to U.S. Soccer. A minimum seating capacity of 50,000 is required for tournament venues.
The stadiums reportedly being considered as venues for the tournament include:
• Rose Bowl, Pasadena
• Stanford Stadium, Stanford
• MetLife Stadium, New Jersey
• NRG Stadium, Houston
• Citrus Bowl, Orlando
• CenturyLink, Seattle
• Georgia Dome, Atlanta
• M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
• Soldier Field, Chicago
• FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
• Mile High, Denver
• Ford Field, Detroit
• Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
• University of Phoenix, Arizona
• Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
• Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
• Nissan Stadium, Nashville
• Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
• Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
• Edward Jones Dome, St Louis
• Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
• EverBank Field, Jacksonville
• AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
• FedEx Field, Landover
In an interview with World Soccer Talk Radio, Soccer marketing expert John Guppy, founder of Gilt Edge Soccer Marketing, believes that the Copa America Centenario has the opportunity to be the next major milestone for the growth of the sport in the United States. Guppy compared the tournament to a mini-World Cup, and believes it could be the biggest soccer event in the US since the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
The opening game of the tournament, set to take place on June 3, could present a conflict for whichever players appear in late May’s UEFA Champions League final. Players like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (Argentina), Neymar (Brazil), and Luis Suarez (Uruguay), or Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez (Colombia), Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez or Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal (both Chile) could potentially face abrupt turnarounds, if their clubs reach May 28’s Milan final.
While it was anticipated that FOX Sports would acquire the TV rights to the Copa America Centenario for US television, the press release from US Soccer says that “CONCACAF and CONMEBOL have reclaimed their respective broadcast and sponsorship rights for this event by ending their relationships with Datisa, S.A. The Confederations will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) publicly to ensure transparency and accountability in the selection of new commercial partners.” As a result, it means that it’s likely that FOX Sports will have to bid for the rights again, but may face stiff competition for English-language rights from NBC Sports and beIN SPORTS.
The tournament will overlap with Euro 2016, which will be played from June 10-July 10 and will be shown across ESPN’s networks. The win-win for soccer fans in the US is that they’ll be able to watch several games in the early afternoons and then either attend or watch Copa America games in the evening and late night.
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