Cowboys Stadium, Cotton Bowl in mix

Updated: January 12, 2010, 7:06 PM ET
ESPNDallas.com

The United States will make bids to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, and Cowboys Stadium and the Cotton Bowl are among 21 stadiums in 18 cities to be selected by American organizers.

Both Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and the Cotton Bowl in Dallas would host games. FIFA's executive committee will vote on the official bids Dec. 2 in Zurich, Switzerland.

"It was very difficult to reduce the field to the maximum of 18 established by FIFA," David Downs, executive director of the USA Bid Committee, said in a statement. "... The emergence of passionate followings for the sport and state-of-the-art venues throughout the country has strengthened our ability to put together a truly national bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022."

The USA Bid Committee singled out Cowboys Stadium among the indoor facilities because it offers "climate certainty and the newest amenities catering to fan experience and game performance."

Cowboys Stadium has been listed with a capacity of 91,600 for soccer, and it already hosted three matches -- including a CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal doubleheader -- over the summer.

The Cotton Bowl, which can seat 89,000, hosted six games during the 1994 World Cup, including Brazil's 3-2 victory over The Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

"We are clearly excited and honored to help represent the United States in its FIFA World Cup bid," Dallas mayor Tomm Leppert said in a release. "It's a win-win. It is great for us in terms of exposure and economic impact, and Dallas is a tremendous destination for World Cup soccer teams and fans."

Leppert said in the release that he's asking the U.S. Bid Committee to again select the Cotton Bowl grounds as the site for the event's overall International Broadcast Center.

The 17 other metropolitan areas that made the cut are Atlanta; Baltimore; Denver; East Rutherford, N.J.; Foxboro, Mass.; Glendale, Ariz.; Houston; Indianapolis, In.; Kansas City, Mo.; Landover, Md.; Los Angeles-Pasadena, Calif.; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; Philadelphia; San Diego; Seattle; and Tampa, Fla.

U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said the 18 stadiums would create an average capacity of 78,000 and allow the sale of a record 5 million tickets. The 1994 tournament in the U.S. set World Cup records with 3.59 million in total attendance and an average of 68,991.

Meanwhile, Chicago's World Cup bid met the same fate as its Olympics attempt. The Windy City was among four host sites from 1994 -- San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Orlando -- not to make the cut. Other cities that did not get chosen included Cleveland; Detroit; Jacksonville, Fla.; and St. Louis.

"I think there's a little Olympic fatigue," Gulati said of Chicago. "I think the Park District had a tough time wrestling with FIFA requirements in short order after the IOC decision."

Gulati also cited the 61,000 capacity of renovated Soldier Field for World Cup soccer.

"It would have been by about 10 percent the smallest stadium," Gulati said.

FIFA's rules call for nine to 12 stadiums to be picked. Downs said he hoped the governing body could be persuaded to expand the final list to 14.

Santa Clara and the proposed NFL stadium in Industry, Calif., could become contenders if construction starts by 2013 or 2016, depending on which World Cup the U.S. might get awarded.

David Alioto, the San Jose Earthquakes executive vice president of business operations, called the decision "very premature."

"The Bay Area has two antiquated stadiums, in San Francisco and Oakland," he said. "It says there are some new facilities needed on the West Coast."

England, Netherlands-Belgium, Russia, Spain-Portugal, Australia and Japan also are bidding to host both World Cups. Indonesia, Qatar and South Korea are bidding for 2022 only.

England is viewed as the favorite for 2018, and the U.S. is seen as the leading contender for 2022.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

ESPN TOP HEADLINES