CONMEBOL, South America’s soccer Federation, has announced the 14 cities that will host all the matches at the 2024 Copa América as the competition gets back to the US for the first time since 2016.
Las Vegas (NV), Arlington (TX), Charlotte (NC), Orlando (FL), Miami Gardens (FL), Santa Clara (CA), Atlanta (GA), East Rutherford (NJ), Houston (TX), Austin (TX), Inglewood (CA), Glendale (AZ), Kansas City (KS) and Kansas City (MO) are the 14 teams.
The first round of the competition will be played at Atlanta United’s Mercedes-Benz stadium, with the final being played at Miami’s Hard Rock stadium.
It will be the second time, after the extraordinary centennial Copa América in 2016, that the competition has been hosted beyond South America.
Ecuador was initially announced to host the competition, but they backed out in November 2022 due to economic and security worries, as well as an absence of suitable stadia.
That reportedly left only Peru and the United States as potential hosts for the 2024 event. In January of this year, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, the North American, Central American, and the Caribbean federation, jointly selected the United States.
There were several reactions encompassing Ecuador hosting and South America in general concerning better infrastructure for the competition. Some believe that South America is having trouble organizing its historic tournament for national teams.
CONMEBOL has seen several challenges in hosting the last three editions of the Copa América held in South America. In 2015, the host nation was changed from Brazil to Chile due to the former already hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
Colombia was set to co-host the 2020 edition with Argentina, before it was postponed by a year due to the Covid pandemic. Protests across the country the following year led to Colombia withdrawing as co-host, with Argentina following suit soon after as the country grappled with high Covid cases.
The competition was in the long run moved to Brazil and played away from public scrutiny.
Now, for the third edition in a row, the host nation has been changed after the US took over organizing duties from Ecuador.
Hosting the 2024 Copa América is undoubtedly a huge boost for the USA as the country gears up to jointly host the 2026 World Cup alongside Canada and Mexico.
In a country where soccer is still sometimes played in the shadows of the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, a successful tournament for the US Men’s National Team could play a huge role in boosting national interest ahead of 2026.
The 2016 edition was a mind-boggling achievement, as well, enlisting a record normal participation of 46,000 and becoming most rewarding or lucrative Copa América to date, as indicated by La Nación.
Coupled with Lionel Messi’s arrival at Inter Miami, which has garnered worldwide attention and caused spikes in ticket sales and attendances, the 2024 Copa América could prove to be a perfect warm-up of sorts for both organizers and fans alike.
Messi’s matches for Inter Miami have drawn star-studded crowds, while tickets – for both home and away games – are in huge demand, although the club has received criticism for hiking season ticket prices for next year and pricing out fans who had been loyal to the team prior to Messi’s arrival.
Messi brought some incredible influence in 2023 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after guiding Argentina to the tournament’s glory. He was recently named TIME’s Athlete of the Year.
At 36, two decades into his unparalleled career, Messi provided a singular stimulus to soccer in America. Attendance, ticket prices, merchandise sales, and viewership soared.
With the US hosting three major international tournaments in the next three years (Copa América in 2024, the FIFA Club World Cup in 2025, and the grandest of them all, the World Cup, in 2026), it’s sure to attract even more fans. But Messi is an accelerant.
As the most revered and influential athlete on the planet playing in Miami for at least the next two years, he has impacted millions of people across the globe. He still performs at the top of his game – and even won another Ballon d’Or as the world’s player of the year, his eighth, in late October.