After Chile secured the Copa América Centenario USA 2016 trophy with Sunday’s
win over Argentina, LA 2024 vowed to take inspiration from the tournament’s
success, particularly the outstanding fan experience delivered to inter-national
visitors. The United States was a comfortable, secure and harmonious host for the
Copa América Centenario USA 2016 tournament, setting records for attendance,
television ratings, digital and social media engagement and revenue.
The tournament was staged across 10 stadiums with a 50,000-plus seating
capacity – including two stadiums in California. Los Angeles County’s Rose Bowl
was the site of the highest attended match between Mexico and Jamaica, witnessed
by 83,263 fans on June 9. Sunday’s 82,026 crowd at New Jersey’s Metlife Stadium
brought aggregate tournament attendance to 1.49 million, an estimated 69% of
whom were from outside the host nation. The 16-team, 23-day tournament broke
the aggregate tournament attendance record by over 350,000. The 46,000 average
gate was another record, significantly above the organizers’ baseline projection of
30,000, and a higher figure than five of the last nine FIFA World Cups.
The tournament was organized jointly by the US Soccer Federation, the
Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football
(CONCACAF) and the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL). Copa
América Centenario USA 2016 is on course to make a profit, with substantial ticket
and broadcast rights sales further buoyed by sold-out stadium signage and on-site
advertising, and 15 major corporate sponsors. Total viewership is estimated to have
exceeded 100 million over the course of the tournament.
US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati, chairman of the Copa América
Centenario USA 2016 local organizing committee, said: “First, I’d like to thank both
CONMEBOL and CONCACAF for all of their efforts in putting on a great tournament
over the past month. With their support, and the amazing work by the LOC staff, we were once again able to showcase that the United States has the ability to host big-time international sporting events as well as anyone in the world. We all knew this tournament had great potential both on the field and off, and I’m happy to say that we were able to come together and provide the millions of fans both in the stadiums and around the world with a fantastic experience during Copa America Centenario.”
LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said: “LA 2024 warmly congratulates the
US Soccer Federation, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL on an outstanding tournament.
Copa América Centenario has shown our friends in the PASO region and beyond the US at its best. It is great to see so many international visitors traveling around the
country and helping to create this wonderful tournament atmosphere.
“LA 2024 will be learning everything we can from the local organizing committee
about the efficient operations which make that special fan experience possible: from
close partnerships with transport authorities, to ticketing and commercial strategies, to
safe and fun match-day fan zones. Los Angeles attracted 45 million domestic and
international visitors last year, and 88% of our citizens backing our bid. That capacity
to welcome the world and that local passion for the Olympics means LA 2024 can
promise a truly exceptional Games-time experience for fans from across the globe.”
In addition to successfully hosting the current tournament, the United States
hosted the best-attended FIFA World Cup in history, drawing an average of 68,991 fans
to its 52 matches in 1994. 94,194 spectators saw the 1994 World Cup Final at the Rose
Bowl in Los Angeles County, which is also the proposed soccer Gold medal match
venue for the 2024 Olympic Games.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.