Sunday, February 1, 2015

Soccer Specific Stadiums in the Gold Cup.

There will be 5 SSS in the 2015 Gold Cup, Philly will host the Final for 1st time. It will be played in Canada for the 1st time.
Well the 2015 Gold Cup is fast approaching and the venues have been selected. It is interesting to see the increase of the use of Soccer Specific Stadiums since 2005. As a matter of fact SSS has increased by one every years starting in 2007.

2005 The Home Depot Center was used. This is MLS largest SSS seating 27,000 fans. The 2005 venues was a great success.

In 2007 the Home Depot Center was used again and again it was a sell out. This year 2 double headers were played there. LA has the second largest TV market and the grass field was a big attraction for SUM Marketing to promote the event.

2009 Group A (Costa Rica, Canada, Jamaica and El Salvador)were given 2 SSS in the Home Depot Center for 3rd year in a row and this time Columbus Crew Stadium. They also played at FUI field in Fla. The HDC was another success but Columbus was a bust. Only 7,059 were in attendance. Columbus Crew stadium would not be used again.

2011 the SSS venues increased from 2 to 3 venues. The HDC for the 4th tournament in a row was relied on again as a staple venue for the event. The new Red Bull Arena in NY was also used for Group B (Honduras, Jamaica, Guatemala and Grenada). The other SSS was the brand new KC Sporting Stadium which opened in June 2010 at a cost of $210 Million dollars. The USA fans packed this stadium for their only SSS Venue.

2013 There would be 4 SSS Venues. Red Bull Arena and Houston's BBVA Stadium were for Group B. Portland's PGE Park and Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah were in the USA Group C. Portland just finished in 2011 a$31 Million renovation for their MLS club and they packed their stadium to a 22,000 capacity. Rio Tinto was used in USA group to give the USA team a home field advantage and to have a capacity crowd.

      The SSS will again increase from 4 to 5. These stadiums have been a great idea since they are close to capacity. You do not want 20,000 fans in a 70,000 NFL stadium. It reflect badly on the Gold Cup. Toyota Stadium in Dallas and BMO Field in Toronto will be new SSS used for the first time in the Gold Cup. The other 3 will be the Stub Hub Center (HDC), Houston's BBVA Stadium and Sporting Park again in KC.

These SSS are great for the event and usually have a capacity crowd. I see The Stub Hub Center 27,000) and Red Bull Arena(25,000) a consistent venue. The reason is they are the number 1 and 2 media markets in the USA. They are also the 1&2 largest SSS in the USA and both have grass fields. They only way they will not be selected is if the NFL stadiums are being used in future Gold Cup events.

Dallas, Houston, Baltimore and Chicago are also large media markets there are hard to pass over. The one obvious market missing is Miami. Miami hosted the Gold Cup in the Orange Bowl in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007 (last Gold Cup in the Orange Bowl). Miami still hosted in FUI Stadium in 2009 and 2011 and again in 2013 in Sun life Stadium. This brings Miami total hosting to 9 Gold Cup's in a row. Miami was omitted this year which is a mystery to me. The 2013 Gold Cup in Miami was played in the Sun Life Stadium (75,000) capacity. 28,713 attended this double header which did not feature USA or Mexico. This double header was the best attended group game out of Group B and Group C (USA group) and the 3rd highest attended game in the group phase. I see Miami again being a staple for future Gold Cup venues especially if Beckerman can build a stadium close to downtown Miami.

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