For a long time rumors have floated around that the 2016 Copa America — the centennial edition of the tournament — will be staged in the United States. Nothing has officially been announced, but a recent report from the Spanish sports daily Marca makes it sound increasingly likely that it’s going to happen. CONMEBOL, the governing body of soccer in South America, approved back-to-back tournaments in 2015 and 2016. The 2015 event will be hosted, as planned, in Chile and a year later it will be played in America with the U.S. National Team and Mexico as guests.
From the Google translation:
America Centennial Cup 2016 CONMEBOL chose the United States as host, although the dates of its performance are not yet defined, as necessary to reach an agreement with the company that owns the TV rights.
CONMEBOL decided to celebrate in style 100 years of life with a Copa America with 16 participants (half the number of teams attending the World Cup), with the participation of its ten affiliates, plus the United States and Mexico as host. These combined four more teams will join Central America, foreseeing that are rated in the Gold Cup CONCACAF 2015.
Marca reports the Rose Bowl, Stanford Stadium, Giants Stadium, the Citrus Bowl, RFK Stadium and Reliant Stadium would be used for the tournament, which would be called the Centenario.
While it’s not the World Cup — which the U.S. Soccer Federation bid to host (and lost) for 2018 or 2022 — staging the Copa America on United States soil would be a big deal. Consider it the next-best thing. If anything, it’s also a big step up for the U.S. National Team compared to the Gold Cup in between the World Cup. It’s hard to think of any downside, in fact.
If this plan comes to fruition — there’s so much potential money simply from ticket sales at huge NFL-style venues to be made that it seems like a no-brainer — figure on a bidding war between FOX, ESPN and NBC for the rights to air the tournament since it will air in the summer when live sports programming is lean. Since NBC has the rights to the 2016 Rio Olympics it seems more likely to come down to FOX, ESPN or someone else. It would be interesting, too, to see how far soccer has come in America since hosting the 1994 World Cup.
Here’s hoping this rumor becomes a reality. [via MLSsoccer.com]