Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why bring the World Cup back to the US?

According to The Guardian, an unexpected benefit to the election of Barack Obama could be that the United States will be picked to host soccer's biggest event, the World Cup, in 2018. They cite the always infamous 'unnamed highly-placed official' in FIFA, the group that governs soccer (or football as its known everywhere else) who says that Obama's popularity will be a "huge factor" in the decision on the 2018 Cup, which will be made in 2011.

My question is why do we even want to host the World Cup?

Some consider one of the great unexplained mysteries of the sporting universe to be why is soccer, arguably the world's most popular game, just a niche sport here in the USA falling somewhere between hockey and arena football in popularity. I think the answer pretty mundane, that with the NBA, NFL, MLB, big-time college football/basketball, NASCAR, and so on, even sports-crazed America has a plate that's already overflowing.

And the US already did host the World Cup, back in 1994. That event, along with the arrivals of superstars Pele and David Beckham, and several Olympic gold metals was suppose to be ‘the thing’ that made soccer as popular in America as it is in the rest of the world.

It wasn't. So why not give the World Cup to a country that will actually appreciate it?

Meanwhile, Obama's election is also thought to boost his hometown Chicago's chances of hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. Chicago is one of four finalists for the Games (along with Madrid, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro). That decision will be made in October 2009.
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