After a tumultuous last few months in which the future of the tournament was in doubt, it has been officially confirmed that a special edition of the traditional Copa América will be coming to the United States in 2016.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 24, 2015
The tournament will celebrate 100 years of a tournament that includes top South American teams such as Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, Uruguay and special guests like Mexico. For the 2016 edition, the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and two more CONCACAF teams still to be determined, will join the usual 12 participants (all ten CONMEBOL teams and two guests).
With the best teams and players already confirmed to be participating, now it’s time for US Soccer to focus on the venues:
Serving as the Local Organizing Committee, U.S. Soccer will work with CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and the soccer community in the U.S. to organize and execute the event. U.S. Soccer will immediately begin securing venues for the tournament and planning the operational aspects of the event. Earlier this year, 24 metropolitan areas showed interest in hosting matches during the tournament and submitted a proposal to U.S. Soccer. A minimum seating capacity of 50,000 is required for tournament venues.
More than 40,000 fans have already signed up to receive ticketing information and U.S. Soccer will provide updates in the near future.
Full US Soccer press release available here.
The broadcasting rights for the tournament are still up for grabs, and we can expect high interest from the top media companies given the fact that this can be considered a “mini-World Cup”:
CONCACAF and CONMEBOL have reclaimed their respective broadcast and sponsorship rights for this event by ending their relationships with Datisa, S.A. The Confederations will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) publicly to ensure transparency and accountability in the selection of new commercial partners.
— The American Outlaws (@AmericanOutlaws) October 23, 2015
What does this mean for the rest of us? An engaged audience excited about the tournament, great games in top US cities, and great opportunities to activate soccer-related marketing initiatives in an authentic way.