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November 23, 2014

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Official says don’t discount Las Vegas from World Cup talk (UPDATED)

Beyond the Sun

The USA Bid Committee eliminated Las Vegas as a potential World Cup site, in 2018 or 2022, in an official cut-down release Thursday morning.

However, Jeff Marks, the chief operating officer for the Los Angeles-based public relations firm Premier Partnerships, said Las Vegas should not be discounted for future consideration.

Premier represents Sports City USA, an anonymous group of investors that hopes to build a state-of-the-art soccer complex in Las Vegas.

“I would not count Las Vegas out as a market,” Marks said. “Las Vegas is one of the marquee and key markets, when it comes to soccer, even though it doesn’t have an actual venue yet.

“FIFA and others know that, by 2022, there will be a state-of-the-art soccer stadium … it will be exactly what FIFA wants.” The USA Bid Committee will cut its current short list to a final version in December. If and when a stadium materializes in Las Vegas, Marks said, look for the city to receive World Cup attention.

He said FIFA, the sport’s governing body in Switzerland, might put a Las Vegas stadium at the top of a list of potential U.S. sites – again, if it’s built.

“You have to have a physical stadium to be part of the bid process,” Marks said. “It’s more of a formality than reality … we feel really good that Las Vegas will be part of the World Cup, somehow and in some way, in the future.

“We believe Sports City USA has a really, really dynamic and next-generation (plan) that is a perfect fit for FIFA … it’s a cathedral. It makes your head spin.”

Here is the Thursday's official release from the USA Bid Committee:

USA BID COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES LIST OF 27 CITIES STILL IN CONTENTION FOR INCLUSION IN U.S. BID TO HOST FIFA WORLD CUP™ IN 2018 OR 2022

Request for Proposal Stage Trims 11 Cities, Leaving 32 Stadiums in Competition for Chance to Host Potential World Cup Matches

NEW YORK (August 20, 2009) - The USA Bid Committee today announced the 27 United States cities that passed the third stage of the city and stadium proposal review process and remain under consideration as potential host venues for the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. These cities will continue working with the USA Bid Committee both on the development and promotion of their local and national campaigns.

Officials representing a total of 38 cities received the Requests for Proposal (RFP) and had from

June 16 to July 29 to complete their proposals and return them to the USA Bid Committee. The RFPs requested information from city officials covering a vast array of subjects such as tourism, climate, security, transportation, training sites, promotion and more.

"The USA Bid Committee is pleased to have received comprehensive responses from city officials and local organizing committees across the United States," said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. "The overwhelming interest and creativity shown by the candidate cities made our extensive review process that much more difficult in narrowing down the list."

The RFP process resulted in 11 cities being pulled from contention, an important step in the United States' application that is due to FIFA in May 2010. FIFA and its 24 member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the two host nations for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.

The 27 remaining candidate cities offer a wide variety of markets that range in size from New York City to Jacksonville, Fla., as well as vast coast-to-coast geographic strength. Numerous U.S. markets that did not play host to matches during FIFA World Cup in 1994 remain under consideration, including Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis, Denver, Seattle and Phoenix.

The 11 cities removed during this round were: Birmingham, Ala.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Fayetteville, Ark.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Minneapolis, Minn.; New Orleans, La.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Salt Lake City, Utah and San Antonio, Tex.

In conjunction with the list of 27 cities announced by the USA Bid Committee, a short list of 32 stadiums still under consideration was also announced today. The venues average almost 74,000 in capacity and represent a wide spectrum of facilities, featuring stadiums typically used for college and professional football, including open-air, domed and retractable roof venues. All 32 stadiums currently exist or are under construction with eight featuring capacities between 80,000 and 108,000 spectators. A list of the finalist cities and stadiums, all of which are vying to be included in the USA Bid Committee's formal bid book to FIFA in May 2010, can be found at the end of this news release and at the bid's official webpage, goUSAbid.com.

The current list of venues came as a result of a four-month process that began in April with representatives from 58 stadiums expressing interest in being considered for the USA's bid. The USA Bid Committee was then able to cut the list to 45 stadiums in 38 cities in mid-June following the review of a detailed questionnaire completed by the candidate venues that incorporated the strict FIFA facility requirements into the evaluation process.

"We will be working closely with officials from all 27 cities, stadiums and host committees over the next few months in our process of identifying the final list of cities that will be included in our bid book to FIFA in May 2010," said David Downs, the Executive Director of the USA Bid Committee. "The support of the individual cities and their capacity to promote the bid will be crucial to our efforts as we work to maintain the momentum created by the launch of our national campaign and our Web page, goUSAbid.com, last week. With the passion for the game being shown by our fans and the existing infrastructure in place in the U.S., we are confident we have assembled a list of candidate cities that will meet and exceed FIFA's requirements for hosting World Cup matches."

FIFA's criterion requires a candidate host nation to provide a minimum of 12 stadiums and a maximum of 18 capable of seating 40,000 or more spectators. Stadiums with a minimum capacity of 80,000 are required by FIFA for consideration to play host to the Opening Match and Final Match. The U.S. used stadiums in nine cities when it hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

The United States, Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia have formally declared their desire to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only to the tournament in 2022.

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