CONCACAF has just announced the dates and venues. By looking at the dates we have a good idea as to the dates for each group. Every team will have 3 days of rest and travel between venues. Warner and Co want to maximize the dollar so each venue will only have one chance to promote their double header. So here are the Groups and dates.
Group A will start in California’s Home Depot Center for the opening match July 3rd.
Each team will get 3 days break for travel and rest and then play on the 4th day. Group A’s dates will be Home Depot Center July 3rd then fly to Columbus Ohio’s Columbus Crew Stadium (20,000) and play on the 7th Then fly again to Miami to play 4 days later at Florida International University (FUI) July 10th . These are the 3 smallest venues so everyone knows the neither USA nor Mexico will be in this Group. Costa Rica or Honduras will be the top seed here. I also see Jamaica and/or Haiti in this group because both have great fans support in Miami.
Group B Will play July 4th then have 3 days of travel and rest and play on the 4th day July 8th. Travel again and rest and play on the 11th. Group B Venues will be Qwest Field, RFK Stadium and then Gillette. It is easy to see this will be the USA group. The USA will play on its Birthday July 4th. They will play in Seattle where soccer in a very high profile with the Seattle Sounders FC starting their inaugural season in MLS in 2009. Washington D.C will also host the USA team on the 8th. What better to play the national team than in it’s countries Capitol. Robert Kraft always has an influential say in NFL and MLS financial matters. The Kraft group also can promote a game and has a very strong soccer foundation with the Revolution.
Group C is Mexico’s group. This group will play July 5th in Oakland, California. Travel and rest and then on 4th day play in Houston Reliant Stadium on the 9th. From there they will travel and rest and play on the 12th in Arizona. Mexico has great fan support in LA and Houston. CONCACAF is taking a chance in Phoenix however if any national can fill up U of Phoenix stadium it Mexico.
The quarter finals go to Philly and Dallas. So I see the winner of group B going to Philly and the winner of Group C going to Dallas. There was a tremendous turnout for the Final in Chicago. I believe there were over 60,000 fans but most (over 80%) were rooting for Mexico. Chicago still will have a double header and the hope is Mexico is still alive.
This is a good idea to play only one game at each venue to maximize profits. Fans in each region will only have one chance to see their team play. Double headers will ensure a large crown at each venue. CONCACAF should increase average attendance record and total attendance as long as the USA and or Mexico reaches the semi-finals.
On the other hand this will be very hard on the teams that do not have dept on their roster. Each team will be flying all over the country. Each team will be on at least 3 planes for each match. 8 of the 12 teams will have to fly 4 times. The final 2 team will be on 6 flights before they fly home. that is some frequent flyer miles.
I will post on who I think will be in each group later…that is it for now.