Why the US is a Lock to Host the 2022 World Cup (or Maybe 2018)

 Why the US is a Lock to Host the 2022 World Cup (or Maybe 2018)

There is some real drama about which European country will host the next World Cup.  Both England and Russia have submitted solid bids, and FIFA is going to have to think very deeply about which country will get to host this prestigious event.  However, FIFA is awarding both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups this December, and although several countries, including South Korea, Australia and Qatar are bidding for the other slot, the US is almost a guaranteed winner. 

There are several factors in the US’s favor, but as with most things about FIFA, they come down to money.

Nobody on Earth has the ability to host more visitors or sell more tickets than the US

In 1994, the US hosted the World Cup tournament and sold a record 3.6 million tickets in a country that, for many, barely registered that the event was actually going on.  Despite the fact that four World Cups have occurred since 1994, and that the tournament expanded from 24 countries to 32 (and from 52 to 64 matches) in 1998, that record still stands.  An average of 69,000 people attended each game, and some of the venues for those games were second tier facilities like Stanford Stadium and the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.  For a future World Cup, the US can place the games in a dozen different stadia that have all been built or upgraded within the decade and all seat more than 70,000 spectators.  For a World Cup tournament, there is little doubt that the US could sell between 4.5 and 5 million tickets, a record that will probably never be broken.

When the FIFA inspection committee comes to the US next month, they will make stops at the new Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey, FedEx Field outside of Washington DC., Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex., and Reliant Stadium in Houston.  In addition to the huge seating capacity, all of these new, modern stadia will have the luxury boxes and facilities FIFA needs to entertain all the big wigs and corporate sponsors associated with the greatest sporting event on earth. 

Just about all the stadia that would host a World Cup game in the USA are built for the NFL, and the NFL is world’s greatest organization for buttering up its cooperate sponsors.  The two versions of football share the same attitude about how best to generate gameday money – sell tickets to the small guys and rape the rich guys for every penny they are willing to toss away in order to be associated with sports.  The NFL stadia are like a FIFA dream come true.

The US has the infrastructure to host the tournament next month, let alone in 2022

All of the 18 cities in the US bid package have the airports, transportation facilities and hotel space already built and ready.  In fact, for many of the cities, having 100,000 visitors show up and check into hotels will barely register in the day-to-day life of the city.  With 1.5 million people going in and out of American airports every day, if 750,000 visitors come to the US for the World Cup, the logistical headaches will be more along the lines of a busy Thanksgiving travel season.

Despite all of its advantages, the US Bid Committee has unrolled a charm offensive

Did you notice who was sitting next to FIFA head Sepp Bladder at two of the US’s games in South Africa this summer?  That was President Bill Clinton.  Whatever your politics, the fact is that Clinton is one of the most popular Americans in the rest of the world, and nobody would dispute his ability to charm a snake out of its skin.  With Clinton now as acting as honorary chairman of the bid committee, the entire effort has had its star wattage kicked up more than a notch. 

That star power will be on display next month when the inspection committee comes to the US, is escorted by President Clinton, entertained by soccer fans like John Legend, Kobe Bryant and Brad Pitt, and sits down to lunch with President Obama during their time in Washington.  With all due respect to Qatar, that will be tough to beat.

More importantly, America is a growing soccer power in the FIFA universe

Do you know which country has more U-14, U-12, U-10, U-8 and U-6 registered soccer players than England, Italy, Germany or France?  The USA.  Do you know which country bought more tickets to the most recent World Cup than any other outside of the hosts?  The USA.  Do you know which country bought more soccer equipment than any on earth last year?  The USA.

Soccer may not yet be more popular as a spectator sport than baseball, football or basketball, but it is the most played sport among youth in America, and now represents a gigantic revenue source for FIFA.  If soccer ever generated half the passion in the US than it does in the major European powers, it would generate far more revenue than any other nation on earth.  The 1994 World Cup introduced soccer as a viewing activity to America, and a 2022 World Cup hosted in the US has the potential to make that interest explode.

China’s interest in hosting in the future ices it for the USA

For FIFA, China is virgin territory.  With 1.2 billion people, the world’s second largest GNP, and almost no soccer culture to speak of, FIFA is desperate to get China into the world soccer scene.  If China expresses even the slightest interest in hosting the 2026 or 2030 World Cup, the US bid is a lock.

Why?  Because all of the US’s competition (Qatar, Korea and Australia), are located in the Asian Football Confederation.  If any of those teams are awarded the World Cup, China will be shut out until the 2040s.  FIFA cannot allow that to happen.  They need the cult of football to spread to China, and after the last Olympics, they know China could be a wonderful host.  China has not submitted a bid for 2018 or 2022, so FIFA may feel the need to hold a slot open for them in the next round.  In the meantime, they cannot give that Asian slot to someone else.

Can the USA win the 2018 hosting job?

Perhaps.  The USA has repeatedly expressed to FIFA that they are willing to limit their bid to 2022 if that is what FIFA wants, and FIFA has encouraged the USA to stay open to the possibility of hosting the games four years sooner.  Why?  If Russia were to be awarded the games, they would need to build a lot of stadia, and if England were to be awarded the games, they would need to upgrade many of theirs.

FIFA may want to give either Russia or England another four years to improve their facilities.  If so, we may be just eight years away from welcoming the rest of the world to the World Cup.

47 Responses to Why the US is a Lock to Host the 2022 World Cup (or Maybe 2018)

  1. Charles says:

    Very doubtful they would have it in the Americas twice in a row, skipping Europe’s every other turn, something that has never been done.

    Great points though.

    I see US in 2022 for sure. One, FIFA wants the US money to enter the sport, they would be crazy not to….and it is very close.
    Two, by far the most successful World Cup for numbers and percentage capacity has only gotten way better.

  2. michael says:

    Australia will win 2022 and England/Russia will win 2018, USA 2026, not sure why the greedy pricks are even bidding for this world cup honestly. US as always just disgraceful bullies, no wonder they got zero votes for the 2016 olympics

    • Geoff says:

      Why would Australia get it?

      Not only were they recently exposed bribing FIFA (yes, I know it was before the submitted their official bid but come on…), but they are also having trouble getting commitments out of the Rugby league to use the high capacity stadiums since, apparently, soccer isn’t a large enough sport in Australia to warrant it’s own high capacity stadiums and Rugby happens to be a June/July sport there.

      Honestly, Qatar has a higher chance than Australia.

      • Luke says:

        Rugby? lol, their grounds are far from high capacity (around 35-40K).

        Admit it, you don’t know what you are talking about :)

        AFL football was the football code causing the problems (grounds of 80-100K capacity) - but that has all been sorted. The issue was that FIFA require the grounds they will use not to be used for anything or anybody for 2 months. That is a PITA for some people, but they will be compensated, and at the end of the day we hope people who travel down to see the World Cup will partake of some of our local footy too ;)

    • sean says:

      “greedy pricks” and “disgraceful bullies”? really? based on what? those are spiteful words to throw around without any factual support of any kind. take a chill, get over what ever envy/bias/bitterness you have and take a look at the math and see who it favors. maybe Australia, perhaps Qatar and perhaps US. settle down geoff.

  3. Abram says:

    I would love the World Cup to be here in 2022 or 2018, I just don’t see it happening. We have a lot in our favor, but I agree with Michael. England or Russia will ultimately get it in 2018. Australia probably hurt its chances when it left OEC for the AFC, but I still see them getting it in 2022. US’s best chances are going to be 2026 or 2030, which is good because by then I might have saved enough money to be able to afford a ticket.

  4. Greig Muir says:

    What an arrogant pile of shite.

    Absolute crap.

    Eric Altshule, you are clearly a cxnt.

  5. sergio lima says:

    China lacs infra estructure for the sport but the public there is way more into soccer than here. China government already made a commitment with the local confederation and will invest billions of dollars to help the sport to be more professional. China soccer is just a matter of time and they will be bigger than anyone and will bring millions to the game. Just to give you an idea, when Manchester United plaid in China they got 3 times more money than when they play here. I honestly don’t think USA will host any other world cup until FIFA sees a real commitment by the population towards the grow of the sport. The American soccer fan base is smaller than any European soccer fan base and the late TV ratings are proving that. Most Americans just don’t like American soccer and the media guys do everything they can to make even worst. Of course the world cup here would be great for the foreigners who live here and love soccer but FIFA knows that too and may consider pushing the USA world cup a little further down the line.

    • Lysander says:

      “I honestly don’t think USA will host any other world cup until FIFA sees a real commitment by the population towards the grow of the sport”

      Like more people than any other country going to the World Cup this summer? Or a growing domestic league despite a retracting economy? LIke higher ratings for TV nearly every year in a row?

  6. Brickthrower says:

    Eric is almost right on point here people.If you think there is not some reality in what was just written you are naive. China is the target for the 2026 World Cup. An Asian nation will not get the 2022 World Cup. The only possible exception would have been Australia, but the INTEREST, yes INTEREST is not there. I do not know where everyone got this illusion that Australia can pack stadiums. The World Cup would not make money there. It takes a whole lot of money to entice international clubs to travel there and play there in summer friendlies, and they still don’t attract well. Their stadiums can’t handle huge capacities. Their domestic league averages 10,000.

    Is the US domestic league and interest that much greater? Maybe not, but it is certainly growing. Also, 5x the amount of Europeans will come to a World Cup in America than the one in South Africa or a potential New Zealand. Does anyone have any idea how many Europeans and Asians come to this country on vacation in the summer? FIFA thinks money. They’ll give the 2022 World Cup to the United States under a silly stipulation, like “as long as you create a promotion/relegation system”.

    2018 in US? Not likely. Maybe, if Russia gets chosen and they have to wait until 2022 to build the infrastructure, but I really doubt Russia stands a chance. I think Blatter’s most recent comments were taken too seriously. I would be shocked if England didn’t get 2018. 52 years is a long enough wait for the sports largest fan base to wait.

    • Sergio Lima says:

      Listen, 2018 is already English. FIFA has a long time debt with the Brits since they had promissed the cup to them before and gave to the Germans. And it is possible that they decide not to rotate the cup this time because the europeans are without the tournment since 2006, so, there are people in the UEFA side looking for a 2018 in England and a 2022 in Russia, going to China in 2026 and then maybe to US in 2030. What is not bad. Believe me, if somebody will have to wait until 2030 and it is between Russia and USA I believe they will give to the Russians first. There are a lot of Russian oligarcs investing too much in soccer right now and they want the tournment. I just don’t see how Australia will play a role in here too. For sure it is a wonderful place with great people, I would vote for them to have the cup before USA. We need to expand the game and the US already had a world cup in 94. I am a firm believer that we should rotate as much as we can and give every nation who is capable to host a chance to have the cup, and the Australians are more than capable, I am sure.

      • Pedro says:

        Looks like you totally ignored the article before commenting.

        FIFA has a debt to England? You live in a dream world. FIFA owes nothing.

        After the losses FIFA incurred from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, can you seriously give the U.S. a fighting chance only after 2030? FIFA is looking to replenish its coffers, my friend. Currently, no other country on this planet can generate more revenue for FIFA than the U.S. can. Can you see the equation?

        You argue that the Europeans haven’t had a World Cup since 2006 and because of this they should be awarded with 2018 and 2022 World Cups? Seriously? Europe has hosted more World Cup tournaments in the past 20 years than any other region. And you still have the nerve to argue that we should expand the game.

        Sergio, you are too TONTO to understand the bid process. Salga de aqui!

        • sergio lima says:

          Fist of all, TONTO is what you call PAPA. If you want to debate, fine but don’t start calling people names. And if you go down that road, at least be a man to give your persoanl info in order for the person you are attacking had a chance to call you and see if you are that brave. You may desagree with me as much as you want but do not call me names. So, respect me and mainly, the others here. Second. I know nothing. Everything I said here is based on debating every week for the last tweve years on the most prestigious radio show about sports in Brazil, a show full of very experienced journalists who had been covering world cups since I was very young. One example is Mr.Juca Kfouri, a very important journalist even mentioned on the last book writen by Mr.Jennings about the corruption on FIFA deals if you have any clue who Mr.Jennings is. Other thing, don’t make a joke of yourself telling FIFA owes nothing. FIFA owes everything and they do whatever they want. They are, at this moment, because of a political dispute, not including the most important city and state in Latin America in the 2014 world cup to be played in Brazil. And other thing, you said that FIFA lost money in Africa? Wrong information AGAIN! FIFA never loses money because there is a very important clause on the world cup contract that in the event of a possible situation where FIFA endup not MAKING the money necessary to cover all the expenses and the profits they had antecipated, the host nation will have to pay for that difference. But if you really want to know how desperate FIFA is moneywise, I am giving you at the end a link from their own web site financials, the page will show you how broke they are. And to finalize, in the history of World Cups, this time is the first time ever that the Europeans won’t have the world cup for twelve long years. Europe has always had the cup at least at every eight years, that is why UEFA wants two in a row, it doesn’t mean they will get it but they are pushing for. This is not my oppinion, my friend, it is called information. http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/marketing/factsfigures/financialreport.html

          • sergio lima says:

            For those who believe FIFA is some kind of a joke entity, I am posting a copy from one of their first pages of their financial report, where they are saying that the Entity is finaly surpassing a U$ 1 billion in equity and saying that the world cup in Africa made more money for FIFA than the two previous ones. This organization is very political and very dangerous for those who dare chalenge or contest their way to do “business”.

            The page on the report:
            DEAR SIR OR MADAM,

            We are all eagerly awaiting the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, which will also conclude the ? nancially signi? cant 2007–2010 four-year cycle. Initial concerns that the marketing of the ? rst FIFA World Cup™ in Africa would not be able to replicate the success of the two previous FIFA World Cups™ have proven to be unfounded, with the posting of record revenues that even surpass the results of the previous two tournaments.

            The cycle was not long under way when the ? nancial world was rocked by turbulence on the international stock exchanges, and this led to a global ? nancial crisis whose impact will continue to be felt in the next few years. It therefore gives me particular pleasure against this backdrop of instability to present the encouraging development in FIFA’s ? nances. Based

            on another year of stable revenue growth, FIFA achieved a positive result of USD 196 million in 2009 and increased its equity to USD 1,061 million – thus topping the USD 1 billion mark

            – and now has a solid equity basis.

            Looking ahead, the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil is already proving to be a major draw and we have signed the ? rst contracts with national and international sponsors to line up alongside the six existing FIFA Partners. The world’s biggest sports event yields an unwavering appeal, perhaps all the more so in times of economic uncertainty, by offering excitement, entertainment and top-class sporting action and therefore provides an excellent platform for commercial brands.

            Nevertheless, the ? nancial success of the 2007-2010 cycle depends on the successful staging of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, and our experiences at the FIFA Confederations Cup give us every reason to look forward with optimism to a colourful celebration that will inspire the world.

            I will provide you with detailed information about this FIFA Financial Report 2009 at the 60th FIFA Congress, which will be held shortly before the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ kicks off in South Africa. However, let me take the opportunity now to thank you on behalf of the Finance Committee for your interest, trust and support.

            Julio H. Grondona
            Chairman of the Finance Committee

          • Eric Altshule says:

            A couple of points along this string -

            About FIFA having a long-time debt with the English, I doubt it. FIFA is not the kind of organization that feels like they owe anything to anybody. If the Brits think their bid will win because they are due, they are doomed. On the sister site, I have written apiece on some of the problems with the English bid.


            Secondly, FIFA did not “lose” money in South Africa, but they could have made a lot more money elsewhere. Frankly, the same is true for the 2014 cup in Brazil. Having sacrificed larger profits to take the Cup to Africa and then to South America, FIFA probably feels it is time to receive a river of money.

            Finally, FIFA cannot award the Cup to Russia in 2022. Russia, like England, has only applied for the 2018 Cup. If UEFA were to ask for two cups in a row, the non-UEFA members of FIFA would consider that arrogant and possibly deny UEFA anything.

          • sergio Lima says:

            Eric, the info about the debt to England came from Ricardo Teixeira, one of the FIFA vice presidents and The African world cup made more money than any other WC before, including the German one. So, you are giving your opinion by guessing about the wc making more money anywhere else, once FIFA has some partners who pay them to be partner for an amount of world cups, independently where they were played. Many here are mixing two different things. If the United States host a World cup, for sure, the country will make more money than if the tournament is played in any other place, BUT, FIFA does not depend on any of those financials to make money. As an example, South Africa and Brazil will have invested close to nine billions of dollars when their cups are over, meaning they will loose a lot of money to have the world cup there, but FIFA will continue making more and more money, once they have contracts corrected by competition. So, FIFA will choose the nations accordingly with their political interesting and development of the game. Those are actual facts collected by professional journalists.

      • Abram says:

        Maybe I’m misreading this, but are you saying that it would/should go to England in 2018 AND then Russia in 2022? I thought the same federation couldn’t host back-to-back, or is Russia not in the UEFA? I agree with the rest, especially America needing to wait since they hosted in 1994

        • sergio lima says:

          Abram, there is no such rule. FIFA want’s to do the rotation as much as they can, it is good politicaly, but UEFA consider itselve the strongest confederation in the world and once they are without a tournament for twelve years, they want to have a back to back like it was done in 34,38 and in 54, 58. I would rather have the Australians hosting once they never had a tournament there. But UEFA wants both of them. Are they gonna get it? I don’t know but I would not bet against the Europeans. They have a lot of political power inside FIFA.

          • SpursInTheUSA says:

            Well, I’m gonna throw out most of your arguments now. There is no such rule? After hosting a World Cup a confederation can’t host the next two. So UEFA in 2018, no UEFA until 2030. Learn your facts before spouting this nonsense.

          • sergio lima says:

            You right, so maybe after that they would again have two world cups in a row, and that way maybe US won’t have even a chance to have another WC anyway. I love when people get personal about a freaking bid. I live here and would enjoy a WC here but in my opinion it would be unfair to many other nations who really love the sport a lot more than a few passionated Americans including myself. But don’t forget that this is only my opinion.

  7. GoUSAGo says:

    Australia can’t win a World Cup bid until they solve the dingo baby-stealing problem.

  8. Jack in TX says:

    If you were analyzing the probability of an Olympic bid, I would say your points ring true. But FIFA is as much more a political body than the IOC, since their involvement in the beautiful game does not ebb and flow every four years.

    FIFA is a day-to-day operating unit that makes money hand over fist even without the WC. They just get even filthier rich from the WC. I don’t think FIFA needs the money specifically from a US-hosted tournament as much as they seek to maintain a balance among their constituencies based on which prospective hosts are available.

    The US bid may prevail. But the underlying reasons are murkier than just the money.

    • Charles says:

      I disagree, it is ALWAYS about the money.

      Current FIFA money will all look small compared to adding a US league that makes money.

  9. Andrew says:

    Hang on, this sounds just like what was said before Chicago came LAST in the vote for the 2016 olympics….

    • njndirish says:

      Except the fact, that you know, there has never been the Olympics in South America and that IOC and FIFA are two different organizations controlling two different events.

  10. Pedro says:

    Although I agree about the U.S. chances of hosting the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, much of the points made here seem like they come from an optimistically naive person.

  11. Tom says:

    What is “an optimistically naive person”?

  12. TangoAlphaLima says:

    First, the money is all that matters. FIFA wants big money from the World Cup, and they also want more exposure of the game to big, underdeveloped markets like the U.S. It’s all about the dolla dolla bills, folks. Nothing else matters.

    Furthermore, any discussion of how poor attendance is at MLS games or how Americans don’t care about soccer is just plain dumb. Americans didn’t care about soccer in 1994, yet they came out in droves for the World Cup. It’s an event that will draw despite the fact that it is the fifth-most watched sport in the U.S.

    • njndirish says:

      Also MLS is the 12th best attended league in the world

      • Kasey in Oz says:

        I’m not goint todisopute your assertion, MLS attendance has been rising steadily over the past 2 years, my question is, where do you find the league table of average attendances? A notorious soccer-hating journo got slapped down big time a few months back down here by he CEO of sydney FC after she dismissed the A-League with”well its not exactly the English Premier league is it?” the CEO responded with well the HAL has the ‘x’ best attendance in the world and 5th best per capitaaverage, which is amazing for a league that is only 5, now 6 seasons old. Obviously someone has collated the data, I just want to know where to find it so I can use it against the Eurosnobs down here.

  13. Bolacuadrada says:

    My friends, the FIFA cartel conducted by dictators Blatter, Warner, Grondona, etc. are all about the money. USA is a sure thing for 2022. One of the biggest monopolies in the world (FIFA) will not miss the opportunity to put that much money in its bank accounts. Face it Madre Teresas, Santa Klausses or whomever you are people.

  14. Draconian says:

    There are some obviously well informed people in this string. I am very surprised however that people don’t seem to realise that FIFA is all about politics. Yes money plays a part but only as it affects ability to get re elected or maintain positions and power.
    Politics will determine the hosts for the world cups. UEFA is so powerful that 2018 will be Europe, FIFA have more or less said so. Qatar should not be written off for 2022, they have some very powerful friends and offer a compelling bid from a rapidly growing region that is yet to host a World Cup.
    FIFA Exco members (many of whom will not be around in 2022) may want to make an historic and political statement by awarding a World Cup to the Middle East.
    We also shouldn’t ignore how unpopular the USA has made itself in recent years with aggressive foreign policies.

  15. GI Joe says:

    Are you joking, Man!? You are totally out of the loop!
    Australia already dropped the race. The 2018 World Cup will be in Portugal/Spain or England and the 2022 is for the US but is not a done deal!

    • sergio lima says:

      Where did you get the info about the Australians dropping?

      • Kasey in Oz says:

        **Australia only dropped the 2018 bid to concentrate on the 2022 bid.

        I agree with the poster who mentioned the same type of ‘smack-talk’ pior to getting f***k-all votes for Chicago in the Olympics bidding..Oh we have sent Obama to the IOC to lobby(well SFW?) Its all sounding very simillar, I think you yanks are getting ahead of yourselves, the Original article was very convincing, but who are you trying to convince?
        FIFA exec are the only peeps that matter!
        And you’d better retract your comment regarding Bribing from the Aussies. The FFA were cleared of any wrong-doing, that was just muck-raking from a soccer-hatring ‘journo’ that was run during the World Cup because all of the real soccer repotrers were in SA reporting on the Cup. It was disgraceful “journalism”, if you can even use that word.

  16. Kasey in Oz says:

    NY Times style Correction: I got my data wrong:
    USA death by firearms 11.66[2004]
    Aust death by firearms 2.94[1998]
    data from wiki with wiki holding the direct data references

  17. Chris says:

    the 2030 World Cup will be held in Uruguay to commemorate the FIFA WC’s 100th anniversary.

  18. Dave Matthews says:

    I thought the US dropped out of the 2018 bid. So its definitely in europe for 2018, and definitely in the U.S. or asia for 2022

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