What if the U.S. Hosts a World Cup in 2018 or 2022 Without L.A.?

It could happen.

Notwithstanding the fact U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati held a teleconference this morning to discuss potential venues should the U.S. win another World Cup bid and “declared Los Angeles is a very important market for us.”

Notwithstanding the fact Los Angeles hosted more games – including the final – than any other U.S. market in 1994, Gulati observed.

And notwithstanding the fact that with three pro teams, the U.S. Soccer training headquarters in Carson and the largest futbol-mad Latino population in the nation, Southern California is arguably the best soccer market in the U.S.

Southern California could still miss out on another World Cup entirely even though the Rose Bowl and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum were among 70 stadiums in more than 50 markets U.S. Soccer has identified as potential venues.

Why?

Because quite simply (sorry to be so technical here) those two stadiums suck. And there’s plenty of competition whether it’s new stadiums like Meadowlands Stadium in New York that will open in 2010 or even college town markets such as Lincoln, Neb., and Fayetteville, Ark.

Gulati was asked if the World Cup returning to the area was contingent upon a new stadium being built here and observed that games will likely be considered for “venues that are not built today.”

“I would be surprised if there wasn’t a stadium development or a redesign planned before the World Cup,” he said of the two stadiums in L.A. “I would be surprised if there weren’t a better alternative than exists today.”

Really? I wouldn’t.

Given the bureaucracies – one by a city, the other by a ghastly joint powers authority-type creature – that operate both venues I would be more surprised if anything was done to renovate or replace either venue.

Why would U.S. Soccer be able to do something the NFL can’t after years of trying and either build a new stadium or renovate an existing one?

Am I being too pessimistic or hard on those stadiums?

Whaddya think?

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • Henry

    Here’s hoping the stadium out in the city of Industry gets built. A world cup not held in LA would certainly be a disappointment.

    More info here.

  • Evan

    You know, I’ve thought about that possibility. FIFA would not be happy with the lack of luxury boxes at the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl. Unless USC football gets the Coliseum to do a major overhaul, I think it would be unlikely that games would be at either stadium. As for the final, the new Meadowlands, Soldier Field, or the Redskins’ stadium all seem like logical choices (I know that the University of Phoenix Stadium, the stadium in Houston, and the new Cowboys’ stadium would also be more than suitable, but I’m just thinking of cities where FIFA would want the final to be).

  • Jon Tuler

    FIFA’s not going to care about luxury Boxes. What they care about is 100,000 tickets sold to the Final @ $600 a pop…So that means the Rose Bowl Will host the Final again. None of those new stadiums hold more than what? 50-60k? Yes, the Rose Bowl is a logistical nightmare, but it’s also a great day out…

  • bz in rb

    I agree, I would be more shocked by renovations/new facilities than I would be by status quo…. however I would be even more shocked if the U.S. won the World Cup and didn’t hold any games in LA.

  • artman

    Maybe that’s what those other “Football” people are waiting for….have the World Cup introduce either a brand new or markedly upgraded Rose Bowl or Memorial Coliseum in the LA area and then take them over for the pointy ball.

  • Chrs

    To be honest, I’m not sold on Los Angeles being one of the best soccer markets in the U.S., and I don’t really want to see it continuously rewarded like it is.

    You can say all you want, and on paper L.A. does seem to be the best city for soccer, but, when push comes to shove:

    There were visibly a lot of empty seats at MLS Cup last year
    The Galaxy seemingly lost half of it’s fan base when Beckham leftaka no more sellouts
    Chivas USA has never consistently sold more than half its tickets
    The WPS opener had a good number, but still wasn’t impressive in comparison to the number of female soccer players in LA/Orange County
    Various national team qualifiers and friendlies have been played in front of half-empty stadiums there, including one recently and the farewell game for Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, et. all.

    I know MLS and USMNT attendance has no bearing on where FIFA would decide to hold the final, but it just bothers me when cities are apparently filled with “hardcore soccer fans” who can’t be bothered to go watch their local team or national team unless there’s bells and whistles to go with it.

  • Aljarov

    Most countries build or update the marquee stadiums when they get the WC. The amount of revenue that the WC brings is enormous and would dwarf the expense of building a new facility. In fact, it could be a great way to get LA a new facility that is bang up to date and paid for from an external revenue source.

    NFL would likely want a piece thereafter, but who would care, soccer money could build it and perhaps it could become the home stadium for the US, instead of the HDC. It might be too big (at 80k+) for the LA teams in MLS, but there is definitely potential there for soccer overall. Perhaps the right to use the stadium for MLS Cup finals, or Superclassicos even. A stadium built with soccer in mind, even if it houses an NFL side later (like Qwest – but without the fake stuff).

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    You know, I’m sure Anschutz and Leiweke are going to weigh in on this. Though I hate both of them, I must admit that they’ve become big players in the sports business in Los Angeles — and the fed owes both of them big time for saving MLS (otherwise, the national team wouldn’t have reached the level it has reached). You can be sure that Onkel Phil and his Chief Minion will insist that Los Angeles or Pasadena (or both) will be a venue — and they’ll do what they can to “improve” the Coliseum or Rose Bowl.

    After all, the World Cup is perhaps the biggest money-maker on the sporting planet — and, if there’s anything that attracts the attention of an AEG bureaucrat, it’s the possibility of making beaucoup bucks on anything!