On December 2nd, FIFA will announce the hosts for the World Cup in 2018 and 2022. With Europe likely to host the 2018 edition, the United States has shifted its goal toward hosting the event in 2022. On December 1st, Bill Clinton will lead the United States bid committee in their pitch to FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland. Clinton has been pushing hard for this lately. He was seen in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup. After helping the Democrats on the campaign trail, he is back to focusing on bringing what is arguably the biggest sporting even in the world to the United States. The 1994 World Cup was played in the United States and was a success. Now, there are much larger stadiums in major soccer hubs like New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas, and Chicago. Unlike many countries bidding for the event, the United States has the infrastructure to support hosting the World Cup.
Clinton will likely sell FIFA on the rising popularity of soccer in the United States. While the success of American soccer on the grand stage has been a mixed bag since 1994, it is hard to argue against the increased popularity of the sport. The 2010 World Cup was a major event for Americans. The draw against England brought a lot of excitement and pride that exploded when the United States notched a last second goal against Algeria to advance to the second round. Though they lost in Ghana, the event was still a success for a country with little international success in the sport.
While Major League Soccer is nowhere near the level of other major sports in the United States, it has enjoyed an improved run among the public. Successful teams were recently established in Seattle and Philadelphia that have seen strong attendance numbers. Ratings have gone up thanks to more exposure on networks like ESPN. The MLS does not rival the major leagues in Europe in any way, but it is making a name for itself. More and more stars are opting to play out their careers in the United States. That will be attractive to FIFA as well.
Ultimately, the success of the bid will come down to Clinton. It is no secret that the international reputation of the United States is less than stellar. However, Clinton is well regarded internationally. He is an expert statesman and speaker which will help him convince FIFA that the United States has what it takes to bring pride to their event. It was in 1988 that FIFA awarded the World Cup to the USA for 1994. In the more than two decades that have passed, soccer has grown exponentially in this country. In addition, the media exposure and revenue that the event will receive in the United States is sure to appeal to the FIFA decision makers. Expect Clinton to give one more great speech to get this country the 2022 Wold Cup.
FIFA Bid Finals