We all have been wondering where the Gold Cup will be held. CONCACAF.com is almost a useless website for information. I, like most, have predicted it would be held in the USA. There is some speculation that a group match might be played in Canada. Currently there is ongoing negotiation with this event. Why you say. Well because the Gold Cup is really going to try to spreads it’s wings this year. Soccer United Marketing (SUM) has indicated on it’s web site that there will be a staggering 13 markets the games will be played in. Wow from 7 venues to 13 different markets. I do not know what this means but I want to guess.
“Held every two years, the CONCACAF Gold Cup™ is the confederation's showpiece event for men's national teams as it crowns the regional champion. The 2007 Gold Cup featured record crowds, including a sold-out Soldier Field. The 2009 version will feature 12 national teams competing in 13 major markets throughout the United States. Soccer United Marketing manages marketing, public relations and operations for the Gold Cup tournament.” Link http://web.sumworld.com/about/index.jsp?content=a2
What we do know is that RFK will be one of the venues. This from the Washington Post. “*RFK Stadium is tentatively set to host a CONCACAF Gold Cup first-round doubleheader on July 8. A U.S. team visit is possible.”
Since SUM is also the marketing arm of MLS so they can kill two birds with one stone here. They will play games in MLS marketing venues. Since they are presently planning 13 venues here is what I am guessing. There will be six group games matches for each group or a total of 18 group play matches. Since there will be 3 groups SUM will try to spread these Groups in the “best” marketing areas they see fit.
The North East market has huge markets in New England, New York and Philadelphia and Washington D.C. These markets also have MLS franchises there also. New England gets 2 games because of the strong soccer support and the Revolution. New York will get 2 games because they are the number 1 market in the USA and also have good fan support. SUM also has the interest of the MLS famous NY Red Bulls. Washington D.C. has already stated that they are hosting the Gold Cup so they get the other 2 games. The North East is settled. I believe Philly will get the final and semi final games.
The West Cost Market;…..Seattle for the new franchise Seattle F.C so I see them getting 2 games. If Mexico is in this group then they will play in L.A Memorial Coliseum twice and go to Seattle. The other group games will play in Carson California’s Home Depot Center with the other group participants. Carson is the home of Chivas USA and the LA Galaxy. SUM may even try to play a game in San Jose home of the Earthquake. SUM might explore Vancouver to test the “soccer” market of a new franchise they (MLS) has to decide on with the expansion bid. Vancouver is also very close to Seattle so do not rule it out. My guess is Seattle, Los Angeles and San Jose.
The Mid west Market: The Mid West market has some major cities close together. They also have MLS franchises like Toronto, Chicago and Columbus Ohio. Toronto is Canada biggest city and this game would promote soccer in Canada. Montreal could get a game for group play. The Habitants of Montreal would have only 1 chance to see a Gold Cup game and with the interest of the Montreal Impact this could be a good choice. If Montreal does not host I see Toronto hosting 2 games. Chicago is the 3rd biggest TV market in the US and is loaded with Latin American soccer fans. MLS also has the Chicago Fire to market so Chicago gets 2 games. Columbus Ohio home of the Columbus Crew get 1 game. Columbus will provide a very intimate setting for any game. Kansas City gets one group play game. 4 MLS franchises are taken care of here and the mid west market is done. My guess is Chicago, Toronto and Columbus.
Group play has 18 games which leave’s 7 knockout games left. They remaining big soccer markets are Texas and Florida. Texas has 2 huge markets in Houston and Dallas and guess what?..... they also have MLS franchises. Florida has the great soccer market of Miami and now Tampa is an option. I see these sites hosting a 1 knockout game apiece.
I also think Philly will host the semi-final games and the final game.