(Soccer America provides ongoing coverage of the 2018/2022 World Cup bid process.) By Paul Kennedy, Editor in
Most of the 11 bidders for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup will be happy to show FIFA in concrete or on paper the minimum of 12 stadiums seating 40,000 or more fans. The USA Bid
Committee has set the minimum capacity at 50,000 seats and come up with 70 stadiums it has targeted in the initial step of outlining the bid process and criteria for venue selection for public
officials and stadium operators.
FIFA will require at least one 80,000-seat stadium for the World Cup; the USA Bid Committee's initial list of stadiums includes 24 stadiums with a
capacity of 80,000 or more, 13 with a capacity of 90,000 and more and four with a capacity of 100,000.
To be sure, many of these large stadiums are college football stadiums in towns that
have little soccer tradition -- the World Cup in Lincoln, Neb.? -- but it should be remembered that the University of Georgia's Sanford Stadium in Athens was the site of the 1996 Olympic men's and
women's soccer finals -- two of the most memorable soccer events ever held in the United States. Such is the USA's depth on the stadium front that it could easily host the 2018 or 2022
World Cups without using any of the nine stadiums that hosted the 1994 World Cup.
Perhaps the only 1994 stadium that would be a good bet to make the 2018/2022 cut is Chicago's Soldier
Field, and it has been completely renovated since then. (Gillette Stadium, another solid 2018/2022 candidate was built next to the Foxboro, Mass., stadium that was a 1994 venue.)
stadium landscape has changed considerably since 1994. Of the 30 NFL stadiums on the USA Bid Committee list, 20 have been built since the '94 World Cup.
Every current NFL stadium except
San Francisco's Monster Park are on the list.
Three stadiums have yet to open: NFL stadiums in New Jersey (to replace Giants Stadium) and outside Dallas and the University of Minnesota's
In 1994, the USA used the Silverdome, the first domed stadium to host a World Cup game. The city of Pontiac, Mich., closed and sold the stadium last fall, but several
other stadiums with domes or retractable roofs will be serious contenders for the 2018/2022 World Cup.
Playing games indoors in stadiums with domes or retractable roofs would alleviate
the problem of playing games in the afternoon in hot weather.
The USA's stadium options are not without holes. There is no obvious choice in California from among the six stadiums that
have been identified.
Each of the three stadiums in the Bay Area has issues and the NFL, for one, won't return to San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium in its current form for the Super Bowl.
That leaves the Coliseum and Rose Bowl -- two ancient stadiums -- on the list. The answer could be a yet-to-be-built stadium in the city of Industry 30 miles east of Los Angeles. Plans call
for a 75,000-seat stadium to be build at a cost of $800 million.
To a lesser extent, there is no obvious favorite in the South, though there are no lack of candidates.
Raymond James Stadium, host of the 2009 Super Bowl, is with a capacity of 65,657 the smallest of six Florida stadiums on the list. OUR SHORT LIST-12
New York-Meadowlands Stadium
Philadelphia-Lincoln Financial Field
Tampa-Raymond James Stadium
Dallas-Dallas Cowboys New Stadium
Los Angeles-stadium TBD
c=college football stadium NFL=NFL stadium *to open in 2009. BID COMMITTEE'S 70 STADIUMS:
(STADIUM) CAPACITY 1. University Park, Pa.
(c-Beaver Stadium) 107,282 2. Ann Arbor, Mich.
(c-University of Michigan Stadium) 106,201 3. Columbus, Ohio
(c-Ohio Stadium) 102,329 4. Knoxville,
(c-Neyland Stadium) 102,037 5. Austin, Texas
(c-Royal Texas Memorial Stadium) 94,113 6. Los Angeles,
(c-Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum) 93,607 7. Athens, Ga.
(c-Sanford Stadium) 92,746 8. Pasadena,
(c-Rose Bowl) 92,542 9. Baton Rouge, La.
(c-Tiger Stadium) 92,400 10. Dallas, Texas
(Cotton Bowl) 92,200 11. Tuscaloosa, Ala.
(c-Bryant-Denny Stadium) 92,138 12.
(NFL-FedEx Field) 91,704 13. Lincoln, Neb.
(c-Memorial Stadium) 91,067 14. Gainesville,
(c-Ben Hill Griffin Stadium) 88,548 15. Tallahassee, Fla.
(c-Doak Campbell Stadium) 88,300 16. Auburn,
(c-Jordan-Hare Stadium) 87,451 17. College Station, Texas
(c-Kyle Field) 83,002 18. East Rutherford,
(*NFL-Meadowlands Stadium) 82,500 19. Norman, Okla.
(c-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium) 82,112 20. South
(c-Notre Dame Stadium) 80,795 21. Madison, Wis.
(c-Camp Randall Stadium) 80,321 22.
(c-Memorial Stadium) 80,301 23. Columbia, S.C.
(c-Williams-Brice Stadium) 80,250 24. Dallas,
(*NFL-Dallas Cowboys New Stadium) 80,000 25. Kansas City, Mo.
(NFL-Arrowhead Stadium) 79,409 26.
(NFL-Invesco Field) 76,125 27. Fayetteville, Ark.
(c-Reynolds Razorback Stadium) 76,000 28.
(c-California Memorial Stadium) Berkeley, Calif. 75,662 29. Orchard Park, N.Y.
(NFL-Ralph Wilson Stadium) 75,339 30. East Lansing, Mich.
(c-Spartan Stadium) 75,025 31. Miami Gardens, Fla.
(NFL-Dolphin Stadium) 74,916 32. Tempe, Ariz.
(c-Sun Devil Stadium) 73,329 33. Charlotte, N.C.
(NFL-Bank of America Stadium) 73,250 34. Cleveland, Ohio
(NFL-Cleveland Browns Stadium) 73,200 35. Jacksonville, Fla.
(NFL-Jacksonville Municipal Stadium)
73,000 36. Green Bay, Wis.
(NFL-Lambeau Field) Green Bay, Wis. 72,515 37. Seattle, Wash.
Seattle, Wash. 72,500 38. New Orleans, La.
(NFL-Superdome) 72,003 39. Birmingham, Ala.
Birmingham, Ala. 71,594 40. San Diego, Calif.
(NFL-Qualcomm Stadium) 71,294 41. Atlanta, Ga.
Dome) 71,149 42. Iowa City, Iowa
(c-Kinnick Stadium) 70,585 43. Orlando, Fla.
(Florida Citrus Bowl)
70,188 44. Houston, Texas
(c-Rice Stadium) 70,000 45. Houston, Texas
(NFL-Reliant Stadium) 69,500 46. Baltimore, Md.
(NFL-M&T Bank Stadium) 69,084 47. Philadelphia, Pa.
(NFL-Lincoln Financial Field) 68,500
48. Columbia, Mo.
(c-Faurot Field) 68,349 49. Foxborough, Mass.
(NFL-Gillette Stadium) 68,000 49. Seattle, Wash.
(NFL-Qwest Field) 68,000 51. Lexington, Ky.
(c-Commonwealth Stadium) 67,606 52. Nashville, Tenn.
(NFL-LP Field) 67,000 53. Blacksburg, Va.
(c-Lane Stadium) 66,233 54. St. Louis, Mo.
(NFL-Edward Jones Dome) 66,000 55. Tampa, Fla.
(NFL-Raymond James Stadium)
65,657 56. Cincinnati, Ohio
(NFL-Paul Brown Stadium) 65,600 57. Detroit, Mich.
(NFL-Ford Field) 65,000
57. Provo, Utah
(c-LaVell Edwards Stadium) 65,000 57. San Antonio, Texas
(Alamodome) 65,000 60. Pittsburgh, Pa.
(NFL-Heinz Field) 64,500 61. Minneapolis, Minn.
(NFL-Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome) 64,035
62. Oakland, Calif.
(NFL-Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum) 63,146 63. Chicago, Ill.
63,000 63. Indianapolis, Ind.
(NFL-Lucas Oil Stadium) 63,000 63. Glendale, Ariz.
(NFL-University of Phoenix
Stadium) 63,000 66. Champaign, Ill.
(c-Memorial Stadium) 62,872 67. New Haven, Conn.
61,446 68. Washington, D.C.
(RFK Memorial Stadium) 56,692 69. Minneapolis, Minn.
(*c-TCF Bank Stadium)
50,300 70. Stanford, Calif.
(c-Stanford Stadium) 50,000