Miami preparing proposal, forming committee to attract World Cup
By Scott E. Pacheco
Miami sports officials are preparing to submit a proposal by July 29 to host potential World Cup games in either 2018 or 2022.
LandShark Stadium already has been named one of the final 45 venues in 37 locations that the US Soccer Federation is to consider in its final bid to host the event, which is expected to net host cities hundreds of millions in spending.
A local attraction committee is to be formed and named in the next 10 days, said Mike Sophia, executive director of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, which is leading the World Cup efforts.
"We'll put the committee together and then we'll begin a process of sort of promoting our bid effort through the fall," he said. "It's really what we want to do August through November.
"The US will determine the final cities for bid submission by the end of this year. It will be a little bit of a PR campaign after (July 29)."
The US must apply to FIFA, soccer's international governing board, by May 2010. FIFA's executive committee plans to select the 2018 and 2022 hosts in December 2010.
Citing an economic impact he says would probably extend upwards of $600 million, Miami-Dade Commissioner José "Pepe" Diaz is sponsoring a commission resolution to support the bid to host the soccer championships to be voted on Tuesday.
"It's extremely important economically and for every other reason you could put up," said Mr. Diaz, who chairs the county's sports committee and the board of the sports commission. "It's important that we fight hard to get the World Cup to Miami."
Mr. Diaz said returns on hosting a World Cup game could be up to "three to four times that of the Super Bowl." In 2007, the Super Bowl generated about $200 million in direct spending when it was played at then-Dolphin Stadium, now LandShark Stadium.
"If we do this right, it's ours to lose," he said.
Mr. Sophia called the three to four times figure "conservative."
The last time the US hosted the event was in 1994, when nine venues were used: Chicago; Dallas; East Rutherford, NJ; Foxborough, MA; Orlando; Pasadena, CA; Pontiac, MI; Stanford, CA.; and Washington, DC. For the current US bid, areas ranging from New York to college communities such as Fayetteville, AR, and Knoxville, TN, are still in contention. FIFA asks bidders to submit 12-18 stadiums with capacities of 40,000 or more. Only venues of 80,000 or more can host the opener and the final; LandShark Stadium has a capacity of 75,540 for football and soccer games.
The Sports Commission's Mr. Sophia said he expects 12 to 15 venues to be included in the initial US bid, though it's unlikely all would ultimately be used. He said host venues typically host four to six games.
"It's like having four to six Super Bowls."