It was already meant to be a huge party. It was the 100th anniversary of the oldest international soccer tournament in the world and the first time it was going to be hosted outside South America. The USMNT coach Jürgen Klinsmann knew the importance of the tournament not only for the sports’ future but his own.
Klinsmann had been criticized for a long time now, for his decisions towards the USMNT squad. That and the results for the tournament placed heavy pressure on his shoulders. The U.S. looked pretty bad and weak in their first game against Colombia. Nonetheless, they were able to comeback nicely, reaching the semi-finals against Argentina. Sadly, the South Americans destroyed Klinsmann’s squad with a categorical 4-0. The USMNT played the last match against Colombia again, but this time for the third place, losing again 1-0. Good enough for 4th place.
Now, Klinsmann will sit down with U.S. Soccer president, Sunil Gulati, and the Federation staff to discuss how the tournament went and what’s next for the German coach and his team.
A Big Winner After All
Even though the USMNT wasn’t even close to meet the expectations, the U.S. can consider itself a winner in Copa America Centenario. “Yes, that’s right. I am talking about the Big Bucks, baby…” The tournament smashed all kinds of records regarding attendance, TV ratings, as well as digital and social media engagement. Generating big profits for the host.
The U.S knew that the tournament had more to offer than just the prestige, and it would become a huge winner regardless of the outcome of the USMNT. Reason why it couldn’t allow the 1.5 million fans that came to visit across the 32-game tournament went somewhere else. More than 350,000 fans surpassed the previous tournament high in total attendance.
Just during Sunday’s Final Match, the Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. was completely packed by a sold-out crowd of more than 81.000 screaming soccer fans. Eagerly jumping and chanting, in support of world class players such as Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, “El Kun” Agüero and Arturo Vidal.
Considering that the Copa America Centenario was played in 10 different venues, in ten different cities across the nation. With an average of more than 46,000 fans per game. With ticket prices that easily surpassed the $100. The tournament became a sure financial hit and the second highest attended soccer tournament played in the United States, behind only the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Internationally, the tournament has been televised in more than 160 countries around the world, reaching more than a reported 1.5 billion households. In the United States alone, more than 100 million viewers have watched games on the Univision or Fox networks. Social media engagement has skyrocketed as well, with more than 3.5 million users across all social media platforms, surpassing the 2015 Copa America in Chile.
Maybe, the USMNT has much to learn in order to be a world-class soccer team, but regarding economics, the U.S. knows exactly how to play.