The Copa America Cenentario or Centennial Cup America is coming to the United States next year, and it is a big deal. The 2016 edition of Copa America will hold special significance, as it will mark the 100th anniversary of the first tournament, and the first time that it’s ever been held outside of South America.
While the U.S. was officially announced as the host country for the tournament months ago, we now know which cities will submit bids to host matches. In all, 24 metropolitan areas have shown interest. In May, the list will be whittled down to between eight to thirteen host cities for the Copa America, to take place in June of 2016. This map outlines which cities will submit bids:
The 2016 tournament is being organized by three governing bodies, The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). The competition will feature 16 teams, six from CONCACAF, and all ten teams from CONMEBOL.
From CONCACAF, the U.S. and Mexico are automatic qualifiers, while Costa Rica and Jamaica are in by winning last year’s Central America Cup and Carribean Cup, respectively. The final two teams will be decided later this year at the 2015 Gold Cup, also in the U.S., our hometown of Charlotte being one of the host cities. The South American field includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Uruguay is the poster boy of the tournament, having won 15 titles since the inaugural tournament, then the South American Championship of Nations, in 1916.
Given the performance of teams from the Americas at last year’s FIFA World Cup, the Copa America will surely feature some of the best national squads in the world. Couple that with the burgeoning soccer market in the U.S., and you have a unique opportunity to widen the soccer landscape across the Americas.
Brands should think seriously about a strong investment in this once-in-a-lifetime soccer event. Univision, the TV network that will air the tournament, has a great opportunity to see big viewership numbers, given its stronghold on the Hispanic market in the U.S. For all intents and purposes, Copa America is the World Cup of the Western Hemisphere for 2016.