La Copa America Centenario By The Numbers
Author: John S Kiernan, WalletHub
Release Date: Jun 01, 2016
This year marks La Copa America Centenario, or the centennial celebration of the semi-regular battle for American dominance on the pitch – soccer or fùtbol, whichever you’d prefer. Although the size of the tournament’s field and the countries that participate have fluctuated over the 44 previous events – the U.S. doesn’t always partake – the 2016 version is on home soil and features a 16-nation bracket sure to create a lot of buzz among fans of the beautiful game.
This special event also figures to open a lot of wallets. After all, 1.75 million fans are expected to attend the 32 matches across 10 U.S. cities, spending at least $56 per ticket, and we already know that Fox and Univision paid a combined $75 million for the television rights. And then there’s the more than $110 million in bribes paid in connection with the assignment of commercial contracts for the tournament, which led to 14 arrests and two lifetime bans from FIFA, but we don’t need to go into that now.
Now’s the time to root for your country and enjoy poetry in motion on the pitch. You can get hyped for all the action, whether you view the event as merely an appetizer to the Olympics or the main course, with our fun-fact-filled infographic below. And you can take a closer look at the business of professional soccer with our Ask The Experts Q&A. Enjoy. Oh, and happy anniversary, Copa America!
Ask The Experts: Corrupt Copa?
For a deeper understanding of international soccer’s underworld, we posed the following questions to a panel of leading sports business experts and professionals from related industries. You can find their bios and responses below.
- What are the chances that soccer will become as popular as baseball or football in the next 10 years?
- Should the US lobby to become a permanent presence in COPA America?
- What tips do you have for a person that wishes to enjoy COPA America while on a budget?
- Who do you believe will win the COPA America Centenario?
Dr. Jim Riordan
Director of Florida Atlantic University MBA in Sport Management
What are the chances that soccer will become as popular as baseball or football in the next 10 years?
As World Cup and Olympic play once again cycles into the mainstream coverage by American media, opportunities for the game of soccer to again experience a surge in popularity will be readily available, with the US Women’s National Team providing the majority of the fuel for this growth engine when compared to the sometimes struggling and inconsistent US Men’s National Team.
Over the past few years there has been increased discussions and more importantly, action with regard to expansion of the professional game. MSL, USL, NASL are experiencing increased fan support overall and there is consistent discussion regarding planned and definitive expansion amongst these leagues in such places as Atlanta, Minnesota, Miami and Sacramento. Owners and league officials have been wise to proceed with their growth plans in measured steps and not try to do what many feel US soccer club owners did in the mid to late 70’s and that was to be immediately on popularity par with Baseball and Football. Today’s soccer executives need to grow at a steady, consistent pace and continue to manage their clubs with current and contemporary “Sportainment” business models, such as product diversification (not just seeing themselves as a soccer organization).
Should the US lobby to become a permanent presence in COPA America?
Not if the USMNT continues to flounder around #30 in the World. The US Soccer Federation needs to analyze and maybe have an independent company analyze its development and training philosophies and make definitive and consistent changes to its player development system, at least on the Men’s side. The USMNT needs to be a constant World-power for it to be considered a permanent fixture in COPA. We have the people, we have the venues, and we have the wonderful cities to host. These product extensions can only go so far. A winning and dynastic culture needs to be permanently in place. Look for more participation in youth soccer at a very early age, now that the perceived dangers of playing American football have been placed, seemingly permanently center stage.
What tips do you have for a person that wishes to enjoy COPA America while on a budget?
No matter what is posted in the news media or announced online, there is usually always some tickets to be had for a sold-out event, and the closer one waits to game time, the cheaper the cost might be. Those selling on the re-sell and Secondary markets do not want to “eat” unused tickets. Keep the apps of a few secondary sellers on your smartphone and continually check as gameday and game-time approaches. If one is at a venue where some form of resell is allowed, go there on game day and “wait out” the sellers. Do not be the first to blink; wait as long as possible for buying the ticket.
To save on airfare, and be able to see the US team play, one might base themselves at a mid-priced hotel in an around East Rutherford, NJ (MetLife Stadium). On June 10th, there is a game in Foxborough, MA. It is a pretty fair drive (4 hours give or take) but most of the trip is on Interstate 95. On June 11, the US and Paraguay play a game in Philadelphia, an under-90 minute car drive down the NJ Turnpike. On June 12, there is at MetLife or back in Foxborough.