2011 CONCACAF Gold cup 2011
Group A (Mexico’s Group)
Dallas. TX (80k)
Charlotte NC (73.7k)
Chicago, Ill (61.5k)
Group B (Canada’s group)
Carson HDC (27k)
FUI, Miami (23.5k)
Red Bull Arena, NY (25.2k)
Group C (USA’s group)
Detroit, Mi (65.5k)
RJS Tampa, Fla. (68.8k)
KC Soccer (18.5k)
New Meadowlands Stadium (82.5k)
RFK, Washington D.C (45.5k)
Reliant Stadium, Houston (71.5k)
Rose Bowl, Pasadena (91.1k)
Ok the venues are set. Pasadena is going to host the final and I would say this is an excellent pick. The last time the Gold Cup final was hosted in the Rose Bowl was 2002. My yanks beat Costa Rica in front of only 14,432. However the L.A. Coliseum has hosted 4 previous Gold Cup Title games. When Mexico was in the final (1996, 1998) there were 88k and 91k spectators making them the top 2 attendance games in the Gold Cup history. It is as much as whom you play as compared to where you play. The Gold Cup final has not been to the West Coast since 2002 and this will be a good chance.
The semi-finals will be played in Houston. The reason is because Houston did well in 2009, spectacular in the 2007 and 2005 knockout games. What do you do to a cash cow….milk it and Warner is. Houston's reliant stadium has been just that...reliable to bring in the big soccer crowds.
The quarter finals games I have to say are also good picks. Washington D.C and NY. NY put on a fine performance hosting the Final last year. So much so that Warner wants to get Mexico back to the Big Apple where there are numerous Mexican fans will pack New Meadowland Stadium again. Watch Group A #1 will play Group B#2. Mexico should win group A to male sure they get back to NY.
Washington D.C is also a good pick since it will be played in the nation’s capitol and more than likely will have the yanks play there. RFK capacity is 45, 500 which is very obtainable if the yanks make the knock out phase. Since these games will be a double headers I envision a close to capacity crowd in D.C. The playing field is natural grass in D.C.
Now getting to the group venues.
Group A will be Mexico’s group. This group has the 3 huge capacity stadiums. There were 82k spectators to watch Mexico in Dallas in 2009. Cash cows are meant to be milked…Mexico goes back to Dallas. Dallas was about 4 times the capacity of all the other group games in the last event. Charlotte, NC is a big surprise to me. SUM marketing usually promotes MLS teams and their cities. Charlotte does not have a MLS team or past experience hosting Gold Cup games. I believe Mexican supporters will travel here, the question is how many will show in charlotte….hopefully they will be playing a quality opponent. Chicago also has many Mexican and Central American immigrants that support soccer in that city. i will always remember Honduras fans far out numbering USA fans in the all important World Cup Qualifying game. Blue Shirts were everywhere. Chicago hosted the final there with great success in 2007. Chicago the #3 market again gets a Gold Cup game. So group A gets 2 proven cities and one new one to bring new excitement.
Group B is Canada’s group. I am assigning a “north” (USA, Mexico, and Canada) North American to each group. I believe CONCACAF officials will do this to give each group a good mix. The Caribbean Cup and Central Cup would have just been played so no one wants to see the same opponents again. This group has the smallest venues and officials want to have capacity crowds. Since the Home Depot Center and Red Bull arena are the biggest soccer specific stadiums is a good reason. These newer sss are also in the #1 and #2 markets in the states. They should get close to a capacity crowd while hosting at 2 MLS clubs. This will not only benefit the clubs but MLS in general to show off 2 of their nicer stadiums. Lastly, LA and NY City have great soccer fans who will no doubt come out to these venues even without USA or Mexico.
Miami has been the only city to host games, 8 consecutive tournaments. Thats right 8 in a row. No other city has the combination of Central American and Caribbean immigrants that Miami does. It is unique. FUI stadium also is a new venue with capacity of 23.5k which is perfect for this group. It is cozy.
Group C is the yanks group. In 2009 the yanks has 2 good attended games and one bad group game attendance wise. Well there are 2 big capacity stadiums and one small one (KC). Also US soccer likes to move the national team around the country and these venues indicate that. Detroit, Tampa and Kansas City will all be new to the national team and new to theGold Cup. All of these venues are surprises to me. Detroit is the big union car making city which should back the yanks in Detroit. The question is how many will show in Detroit with it's terrible economy. Tampa has FC Tampa Bay plays in the second tier of US soccer. Could MLS and SUM be testing the waters for a return of a MLS team in Florida? Is SUM marketing just looking for another City like Miami for consistent fans. Kansas City just finished the newest soccer specific stadium KC Soccer Stadium at a cost of $160 Million. This is a beauty of a stadium and MLS wants to show off their new stadiums. This game will probable be against a Caribbean nation who does not have a big following. (Remember USA v Grendada w/ only 15k @ Seattle). Also Sam’s Army has been lacking in their desire to attend non competitive games. This stadium should bring in the fans just as Dallas did in it inaugural event. Even though it will be under 20k I envision a capacity, racous crowd here.
The question I have is what about marketing the new MLS franchises. Portland, Vancouver and Montreal all were passed over. Well Portland plays in a baseball field and that would be an eye sore. Vancouver will play in BC Palace but the $450 Million renovations w/ retractable roof will not be ready until after Gold Cup. Montreal has the new but very small Saputo Stadium at 13,000. This is just too small to host a Gold Cup game and does not have natural grass. New England has proven adequate attendance, has a MLS team (Revs), the 6th largest TV market,hosted 4 years in a row and was also passed over. Philly another big city, with a new MLS club in Philly Union was passed over but they had the USA national team play there in 2010 and it was not sold out.
In all I have to say this looks like a pretty good tournament with the cities and venues. The nations will travel all over the country in the group games. Then the knockout rounds will start at the East coast, move to Houston that has been a great City that supports soccer. The Gold Cup will end in the Rose Bowl on the West Coast. This will make it a national event. LA use to be the Gold Cups bread and butter in the first 5 title games held in the USA. I am sure the Rose Bowl will put on a good show and make this the highest attended Gold Cup to date held in the USA.