This year marks La Copa America Centenario, or the centennial celebration of the semi-regular battle for American dominance on the pitch – soccer or fùtbol, whichever you’d prefer. Although the size of the tournament’s field and the countries that participate have fluctuated over the 44 previous events – the U.S. doesn’t always partake – the 2016 version is on home soil and features a 16-nation bracket sure to create a lot of buzz among fans of the beautiful game.
This special event also figures to open a lot of wallets. After all, 1.75 million fans are expected to attend the 32 matches across 10 U.S. cities, spending at least $56 per ticket, and we already know that Fox and Univision paid a combined $75 million for the television rights. And then there’s the more than $110 million in bribes paid in connection with the assignment of commercial contracts for the tournament, which led to 14 arrests and two lifetime bans from FIFA, but we don’t need to go into that now.
Now’s the time to root for your country and enjoy poetry in motion on the pitch. You can get hyped for all the action, whether you view the event as merely an appetizer to the Olympics or the main course, with our fun-fact-filled infographic below. And you can take a closer look at the business of professional soccer with our Ask The Experts Q&A. Enjoy. Oh, and happy anniversary, Copa America!
For a deeper understanding of international soccer’s underworld, we posed the following questions to a panel of leading sports business experts and professionals from related industries. You can find their bios and responses below.
- What are the chances that soccer will become as popular as baseball or football in the next 10 years?
- Should the US lobby to become a permanent presence in COPA America?
- What tips do you have for a person that wishes to enjoy COPA America while on a budget?
- Who do you believe will win the COPA America Centenario?