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Big surprises on U.S. stadium list
by Paul Kennedy, January 13th, 2010 7AM

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[WORLD CUP 2018/2022] The USA Bid Committee announced the 18 cities that it will submit as a part of its package to FIFA on May 14 in its bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. The 21 stadiums selected average a capacity of 77,000 and showcase the construction of modern stadiums that has taken place since the USA hosted the 1994 finals.

Only two stadiums -- the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl -- used in 1994 were chosen and neither would be considered a shoo-in to make the final cut if the USA won its bid.

The surprise omission is Chicago, home of U.S. Soccer and site of the 2007 Gold Cup final -- not to mention home of U.S. President Barack Obama and the USA's third largest market.

Four '94 venues -- Chicago, Detroit, Orlando and San Francisco Bay Area -- were passed over in the cut from 26 to 18 markets.

The other four cities that didn't make the cut are Charlotte, Cleveland, Jacksonville and St. Louis.

According to Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer, the venues give the USA the ability to sell more than 5 million tickets for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

"In these economic times," added Gulati at Tuesday's news conference in New York, "to have 18 world-class stadiums without public funds for stadiums or infrastructure gives us a great start."

The final decision by FIFA's executive committee is scheduled for Dec. 2, 2010.

'94 VENUES. Besides Los Angeles (Rose Bowl and Coliseum in its bid) and Dallas (Cotton Bowl and Dallas Cowboys Stadium in its bid), three other '94 cities are 2018/22 candidates.

New York/New Jersey should again be the site of one of the venues, at the yet-to-open New Meadowlands Stadium. FedEx Field replaces RFK Stadium as the Washington facility, while Gillette Stadium was built to replace '94 venue Foxboro Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Regarding Chicago, Gulati acknowledged "some Olympic fatigue" as a factor in its failure to make the cut. Chicago was a losing finalist for the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro.

Gulati also said that the Chicago Park District, which runs Soldier Field, "had a tough time wrestling with FIFA requirements in short order after the IOC decision."

As for the others:

-- The antiquated Stanford Stadium, the Bay Area site for USA' 94, has since been renovated but its capacity was reduced considerably. Unless the San Francisco 49ers find a Bay Area venue and build a new stadium soon, the Bay Area will miss out on the 2018/2022 finals.

-- Orlando beat out Tampa as the '94 Florida venue. Tampa made the short list for 2018/2022, as did Miami, but not Orlando. Gulati acknowledged Miami's Dolphin Stadium, built by Joe Robbie, as the first major stadium built with soccer dimensions in mind. It missed out in 1994 because the arrival of baseball posed a conflict. (In 2012, the baseball Marlins will leave Dolphin Stadium, which has gone through several names, into a 37,000-seat baseball-only stadium in the Little Havana section of Miami.)

-- Detroit's Silverdome, no longer used for major events, was an innovation in 1994: the first domed stadium to host a World Cup match. The U.S. short list includes several domed stadiums or facilities with retractable roofs.

Five of the proposed 2018/22 facilities have retractable roofs or domes. One of the factors that work in their favor is that they would allow for games to be played at any time of day without regard to the weather conditions.

One of the drawbacks of the 1994 World Cup was that most games were played in midday in the summer heat.

CRITERIA. The USA Bid Committee evaluated each city's bid individually based on 21 key criteria in order to meet FIFA's bidding requirements.

-- They ranged from market size, geographical location, climate, existing hotel space and transportation to the availability of adequate training sites, distances between facilities, diversity and its ability to provide a unique fan experience.

-- Also of primary consideration was the history of each city related to soccer, attraction as a tourist destination and history hosting major sporting or cultural events.

-- The stadiums affiliated with each city were judged based on its capacity, premium facilities, pitch size and overlay.

-- The technical bid presented by each local organizing committee was crucial to the selection process as well, demonstrating the level of support and coordination between local government, civic authorities and the community.

-- Also included in the evaluation was the marketing campaign and sustainability plan of each local organizing committee along with the local support.


WORLD CUP 2018/2022 VENUES:
CITY ... STADIUM ... CAPACITY
Atlanta
, Georgia Dome (dome-turf), 70,868
Baltimore, M&T Bank Stadium (turf), 71,008
Boston, Gillette Stadium (turf), 73,393
Dallas, Cowboys Stadium (retractable roof-turf), 91,600
Dallas Cotton Bowl (turf), 89,000
Denver, Invesco Field, 75,165
Houston, Reliant Stadium (retractable roof), 76,000
Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium (retractable roof-turf), 66,500
Kansas City, Arrowhead Stadium, 75,364
Los Angeles, Rose Bowl 89,000
Los Angeles, Memorial Coliseum, 93,607
Miami, Dolphin Stadium, 80,240
Nashville, LP Field, 75,000
New York/New Jersey, New Meadowlands Stadium, 84,046
Philadelphia, Lincoln Financial Field, 69,111
Phoenix/Glendale, University of Phoenix Stadium (retractable roof), 71,362
San Diego, Qualcomm Stadium, 67,700
Seattle, Qwest Field (turf), 68,056
Seattle Husky Stadium (turf), 72,500
Tampa, Raymond James Stadium, 75,000
Washington, D.C., FedEx Field, 89,690


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