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USA World Cup Venue Update

The number of venues interested in taking part in the USA's bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup is 58, including Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium), Washington (RFK Stadium) and Landover (FedEx Field).

Seventy were initially contacted by the USSF bid committee. Three venues that were not on the original list came forward: Las Vegas, Raleigh-Durham and Salt Lake City.

College football stadiums comprise the entire "no" group: Athens, Ga.; Austin; Baton Rouge; Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Auburn, Ala.; State College, Pa.; East Lansing, Mich.; College Station, Tex.; Lincoln, Neb.; Blacksburg, Va.; Provo, Utah; and South Bend, Ind. Meantime, Gainsville, Fla., and Norman, Okla., are undecided.

"We will soon begin contacting all venue and metro market representatives on a one-on-one basis to ensure that their candidacy is in accordance with FIFA criteria," USA bid committee executive director David Downs said.

Here is a link to the full "in" list and further explanation of the process.

By Steve Goff  |  April 23, 2009; 2:52 PM ET
Categories:  USA World Cup bid  
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What are the chances RFK will exist in 2018 or 2022?
Where in Raleigh/Durham would they play?

Posted by: DadRyan | April 23, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

This whole process seems about as useless as the FIFA rankings.

By the time there are serious consideration - not to mention the actual event - many of the best stadiums will be outdated and new ones will have replaced them. See: District of Columbia, Washington.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 23, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse


Those were my questions. Did a little checking and found UNC's football stadium seats 60K. NC State's is around 55K and is nicely accessible from the airport. No idea why they weren't on the original list.

Posted by: benonthehill | April 23, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"Two confirmed stadiums are currently home to Major League Soccer teams in the U.S. – Gillette Stadium (New England Revolution) and Qwest Field (Seattle Sounders)."

Forget any others?

Did somebody forget to tell US Soccer that the Poplar Point and PG County deals never moved forward?

Posted by: bergamot | April 23, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Domes? Really? Indoor games? That was pretty bogus in 94. Has it happened since?

Posted by: Golazo | April 23, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I think indoor will happen in a BIG way in 2018/22 -- Indianapolis, Dallas, and Glendale.

RFK will be a distant memory by then, and so will the Yale Bowl.

I'm surprised Bruton Smith hasn't put in a bid for the Bristol race track -- 170,000 for a World Cup final?

Posted by: bs2004 | April 23, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Guess the World Cup just isn't big or important enough to sully the hallowed grounds of the Bulldogs, Longhorns, Tigers x2, Nittany Lions, Spartans, Aggies, Cornhuskers, Hokies, Cougars and Fighting Irish.

I'm going to guess that the RDU venue would be Carter Finley Stadium, since it wasn't on the list. And I bet Las Vegas would consider expanding Sam Boyd Stadium.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | April 23, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes. WC02 (retractable playing surface) and WC06 (retractable roof, although it may have been open for the matches)

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 23, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Part of me really would like to see Vegas host a few games just to read the police blotter of incidents.

Posted by: addick | April 23, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Part of me would like to see Vegas host a few games just to watch the Northern European teams catch fire like the drummer in SpinalTap.

How do you say 'but it's a dry heat' in German?

Posted by: IamAM | April 23, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

SportzNut: Just what do you think the chances are that FIFA would be interested in putting the World Cup in Blacksburg, State College, or College Station (to pick a few)? It'd be a waste of time and money for both the schools and U.S. Soccer to proceed with sites that, though they have stadiums that appear to meet FIFA technical requirements (which seems to be the criteria for the original list), stand no chance of impressing anyone on the bid committee.

I love Blacksburg, but I want the US to get a World Cup, and FIFA's not interested in college towns. They want cities.

Posted by: JoshCVT | April 23, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that the real elimination process for these stadia will now begin with the one-on-one discussions that USSF will engage with the stadium authorities of the 58 now on the list. Many of these pitches will need to replace turf with grass or as in '94 cover over turf fields with grass. FIFA also wants a pretty large pitch - 110 x 75 yds if I am not mistaken. For the USMNT vs. Cuba qualifier last fall, they had to add another yard to the RFK length. The width will be a problem for several the remaining 58.

Posted by: sbg1 | April 23, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Too many roofs and too many plastic fields. Laying a grass field on top never works very well. I hope this isn't the route they go, though it's hard to imagine the new Meadowlands Stadium not being in the mix. Qwest, as well. Maybe that would be the impetus to replace the FieldTurf in Seattle. Ditto for Foxborough.

I think the bid will look a lot like the last one, but it will be interesting to see how it differs. Stanford Stadium is probably too small now, but its hard to imagine skipping the Bay area, so another Bay area field will be chosen. The biggest changes will be new cities. Philly, Seattle seem locks to be added. Denver? Or will it get vetoed based on altitude issues? Maybe Minn, if the Vikings get an open-air stadium. Michigan probably off the list. San Diego - on the list?

Will Phoenix be on the final list? Or Atlanta -- both seem obvious choices, but also mean either playing indoors or in outrageous heat. Florida, probably, but Orlando again or somewhere else? I bet the Crew would love to see Columbus on the list, but it is one of those flyover places.

Posted by: fischy | April 23, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Josh...I guess I forgot the "/sarcasm" tag. :)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | April 23, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I want to amend one thing -- looking at the renovation of Stanford Stadium, it looks ideal, despite the limited 50,000 capacity. Got to be better than the Raiders' monstrosity. Unless the Niners' get a new park, Stanford is probably the place.

Posted by: fischy | April 23, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I bet MLS will also push to use Arrowhead Stadium...

Posted by: fischy | April 23, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Too many roofs and too many plastic fields? You can't wait until the number of venues is below 20 to complain about that, fischy? I thought soccer fans were supposed to like roofs.

While we shouldn't expect some place out in the middle of nowhere that represents a small Southern city that is about 40 miles away to host a World Cup match, I am somewhat surprised racetracks aren't on the list. I expected something from Bristol as well, bs2004. Of course I'm still waiting for him to back up his hype and actually try to organize a VT-UT game.

Posted by: sitruc | April 23, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

sbg1, many newer stadiums are being designed for soccer dimensions. Dimensions would disqualify many of the stadiums on the list unless they are really willing to make changes. RFK is large enough, but United just uses slightly smaller dimensions. I don't expect RFK to be standing in 2018 though.

Posted by: sitruc | April 23, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

A rain cover is not a roof. I'm talking about those things that keep sunlight out, necessitating plastic fields. Although, with global warming, FIFA may insist on climate controls.

Posted by: fischy | April 23, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Here's my top 13 list: Foxborough (MA) (grass please), Meadowlands (NY/NJ), Lincoln Financial (PA), FedEx or RFK (DC), Dolphin Stadium or Raymond James (FL), Soldier Field (IL), Arrowhead (MO), TCF Bank or Vikings Stadium (MN), Invesco (CO), Qwest (WA) (grass please), Stanford (CA), and something in the Southwest -- either Texas (renovated Cotton Bowl) or Arizona (University of Phoenix Stadium). 12 early round sites and the final in Los Angeles -- either Rose Bowl or Memorial Coliseum (CA).

Posted by: fischy | April 23, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse


On a Texas A&M football weekend, every hotel for 50 miles around College Station has people going to the game, and that's with 30k of the crowd being students, and therefore not needing hotels.

As awesome as a World Cup game in College Station would be, most of the crowd would have to commute from Houston, an hour away at least. Not really practical.

Posted by: Furacao | April 23, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

the fields at State College, East Lansing, south bend, va tech, and college station are all far to narrow for a soccer pitch. Although a match at beaver stadium in front of 110,000 fans would be awesome.
Here is my top eight locks:
1. DC, Fed Ex Field
2. Boston, Foxboro (grass overlay)
3. LA, Rose Bowl
4. Texas, either Relient in HOU or the new cowboys stadium in DAL
5. Chicago, soldier field
6. Seattle, Qwest (grass overlay)
7. NY, New giants stadium
8. Phx Arz, Univ of Phx stadium

Here is my next eight that will vie for 4? spots:
1. Raligh-Durham, Either carter finley (NCST) or UNC stadium
2. Nashville TN, Titans stadium
3. FLA, Either miami, orlando, or tampa
4. San diego, the murph
5. Salt Lake, UofU
6. Atlanta, Georgia dome
7. KC, Arrowhead
8. Las Vegas, (long Shot)

Posted by: jjfooty | April 23, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I was proposing 12 main venues, because that's what Germany had -- and 12 is FIFA's new minimum. I believe the USSF would like to have even more sites. With 8 groups, perhaps 16 sites would be appropriate. That would probably cut down on travel for the teams.

Though I didn't include LA in the original 12, I assume the final would be in LA. The only possible fly in that ointment would be if there were a 80,000 - 100,000 seat stadium in DC, with a retractable roof and air conditioning. I think you could see a final here, under those circumstances. Are you paying attention, Mayor Fenty? Step up to the plate.

Here's how this could work: Announce that you have worked out a deal for a new SSS home in the district for DC United, at the same time that you announce the Redskins will return to DC on the RFK site -- and that you have discussed the matter with the USSF, and they have agreed to propose the new Redskins stadium in Washington, DC as the venue for the World Cup final. Throw in a commitment from the NFL to hold a Super Bowl here, too. Even the City Council might get excited by all that....

Posted by: fischy | April 24, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

I suspect part of the idea here is also to remind FIFA of the embarrassment of riches we have here in terms of venues. If South Africa or Brazil fall through (unlikely but possible), you'd have to think we're the strongest Plan B.

Posted by: JoeS3 | April 24, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

JoeS3 has it dead on. The point of this list is to tell FIFA that the USA has the stadia and infrastructure to hold the WC next week if they asked.

Posted by: mason08 | April 24, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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