One of the big sports stories this week is we are going to find out which countries will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup matches. The 2018 games are going to go to a European nation, but the rest of the world is vying for the 2022 games.
Australia, Qatar, and the United States are the leading candidates to land the 2022 event. As an American living in one of the cities included in the U.S.’s World Cup bid, I’m excited at the prospects of hosting World Cup matches, and although there are a few negatives, there are many more positives and pluses for these host cities.
I reside in Metro Atlanta, and many may not realize it, but Atlanta has a rich soccer history. In recent times, Atlanta did a great job with the soccer at the 1996 Olympic Games. I remember soccer fans being everywhere in and around Atlanta, and they are some great passionate fans. Going back some years, Atlanta had a successful professional soccer franchise, the Atlanta Chiefs in the 60’s and 70’s. Back in 1968, the Chiefs played two “friendlies” with Manchester City who was considered the best team in the world and the Chiefs beat them twice.
Here’s hoping the United States gets awarded the 2022 Cup and Atlanta is able to host some great soccer.
Here’s why Atlanta should host the 2022 World Cup and why it would be a boon for the city.
Atlanta knows how to do big events. The World Series, Super Bowls, NCAA Final Fours, Atlanta has hosted the all. Oh, and that little thing back in 1996 called The Olympics. We hosted that too.
There are great soccer fans in the South. Soccer his huge in the American South. Participating and Spectating. Earlier this year, the City of Atlanta hosted AC Milan vs. Club America in a match during the World Football Challenge. In excess of 50,000 rabid fans attended the match at the Georgia Dome.
The Georgia Dome. The Georgia Dome is a first class facility. It’s almost too nice, you forget you are at a live sporting event. It seats 71,250 fans and is best known as the home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. It sets up perfectly for soccer and best of all, it’s air conditioned.
Atlanta is a destination city. There is a lot to do in Atlanta. Atlanta is the hub of the South and with a world-class aquarium, many museums, Stone Mountain, and a plethora of outdoor activities, there is never a dull moment in Atlanta. There are now more than 92,000 hotel rooms in Atlanta waiting for soccer fans to cheer on their teams.
The economy. Bringing the 2022 World Cup to Atlanta would be a boost to the area’s economy. It would bring millions of dollars and more world-wide exposure to this clean and vibrant city. Atlanta proved it could host the world when the Olympics came, and this would be another shot in the arm for a city that loves big time sports.