May 5, 2024

Copa America 2024 Comes to U.S. Soil

One of the most exciting events in the soccer space is coming to the U.S. this year! Bring on the Copa America– the oldest international continental soccer tournament in the world, first contested in 1916. This premier championship for South American national teams consists of 10 CONMEBOL member nations: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Argentina and Uruguay have the best championship records with 15 titles each, followed by Brazil with 9.

This isn't the first time the tournament's touched down in America. Back in 2016, Copa America marked its 100th anniversary with a special edition held in the U.S., featuring an expanded 16-team field that included six teams from CONCACAF. Now, in 2024, the tournament returns with a similar format, welcoming six additional teams from the CONCACAF region to join the competition, making a total of 16 teams.

copa america 2024

Host City Breakdown

The 2024 Copa America will be staged across multiple major U.S. markets, bringing South America's biggest soccer tournament to fans across the nation. The action will kick off on June 20th at the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, which can hold up to 71,000 people. Other massive NFL venues like AT&T Stadium in Dallas, NRG Stadium in Houston, SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, and MetLife Stadium in the New York/New Jersey area will also host games. Some smaller soccer stadiums will join in, including Orlando's Exploria Stadium. The tournament is set to crown its champion on July 14th at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, which previously hosted big matches like the 2026 World Cup bid ceremony. In total, 13 stadiums across 11 metropolitan areas have been selected, capable of accommodating over 1 million collective fans for the Copa America. Having the tournament spread across multiple U.S. cities helps leave a physical imprint, allowing more local markets to host major soccer events and improve infrastructure in preparation for the 2026 World Cup.

A Catalyst for U.S. Soccer Growth

The 2024 Copa America presents a prime opportunity to capitalize on soccer's growing popularity as a major sport in the U.S. market. With Lionel Messi joining Inter Miami and TV networks’ continued commitment to air thousands of live matches annually, soccer is drawing more American fans than ever. Popular soccer-themed TV shows like Welcome to Wrexham and Ted Lasso also add to the appeal. The passionate fan bases of top national teams such as Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, along with the star power of players like Messi and Vinicius Jr., ensure massive viewership for the tournament across English and Spanish broadcasts. Hosting competitive matches featuring powerhouse teams like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and the U.S. in major American cities provides fans with access to top-level international soccer experiences, driving interest, attendance, media coverage, and sponsorship revenues within the U.S. soccer community. Additionally, it gives the U.S., Canada, and Mexico an opportunity to prepare for the World Cup by testing their teams against elite South American sides.

copa america 2024

Host Country Controversy?

While the U.S. eagerly awaits the tournament, not everyone is as thrilled about the location. The decision to host the 2024 Copa América in the United States has sparked controversy amongst fans. Some view it as a unique opportunity to expand the sport and attract more U.S. audiences to the passionate rivalries of South American football. Others argue that taking the Copa America outside of its home continent compromises its rich tradition and distinct identity rooted in the greatest clashes between soccer rivals like Brazil and Argentina. Additionally, there are concerns that hosting in the U.S. could give CONCACAF teams an unfair competitive advantage on familiar soil against the South American teams. While some embrace the opportunity to expand the Copa América's reach, others argue it should still be in South America to preserve South American soccer history and culture.

Controversy aside, U.S. fans await the chance to watch their national team take on fierce competitors like Uruguay and Bolivia. The incorporation of guest nations like the USMT and Canada adds to the excitement, expanding the tournament beyond South America. It also opens up the possibly for a Copa America 2024 champion outside of CONMEBOL member nations. While the sports betting odds favor Argentina or Brazil to take home the title, only time will tell who will be crowned the winner come July 14th.

Sources:

  1. https://www.foxsports.com/stories/soccer/2024-copa-america-odds-picks-favorites
  2. https://theathletic.com/5304765/2024/05/05/copa-america-guest-nations-usmnt-japan-qatar/
  3. https://mlsmultiplex.com/posts/2024-copa-america-in-the-usa-a-controversial-choice-that-divides-opinions-01hprhwxz9tw#
  4. https://www.cnn.com/2023/12/05/sport/copa-america-2024-host-cities-spt-intl/index.html
  5. https://www.nbcsports.com/soccer/news/copa-america-2024-host-cities-and-stadiums-where-will-the-games-be-played
  6. https://www.forsoccer.com/news/copa-america-2024/
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/27/sports/soccer/copa-america-2024.html

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