The World Cup in Houston?

This would be very cool.

As they prepare to host CONCACAF Gold Cup matches at Reliant Stadium for a third consecutive tournament edition July 9, the folks at Lone Star Sports and Entertainment are busy thinking big — really big.

“We want to bring the World Cup to Houston,” Chris Keeney, LSSE’s general manager, said Friday.

You read right. The World Cup. The biggest, most watched sporting event on the planet.

The United States Soccer Federation has expressed its desire to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

Heck, I’d put down a deposit on tickets today for this, and I’m not even that much of a soccer fan. I think this would generate quite a bit of excitement locally.

An official declaration of interest has been submitted to FIFA, the sport’s governing body, and U.S. Soccer has until May 2010 to submit all paperwork related to its bid.

FIFA plans to award the tournaments by December of that year.


U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati is optimistic about the United States’ chances.

“We are confident we can put together a successful bid to host another impressive event,” he said last month, making reference to the 1994 World Cup, which the United States hosted to unprecedented success.

Keeney believes Houston and Reliant Stadium have a strong case to be one of 10-12 host cities, should the U.S. bid prove successful.

There would be a lot of competition, but I too think that if the US bid is accepted, Houston and Reliant would be on the short list. Reliant is a perfectly fine venue for these events, there would be a ton of local interest, and Houston is easy to fly to from anywhere in the world. Good luck to everyone involved in this effort.

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2 Responses to The World Cup in Houston?

  1. This would be a great opportunity to re-think and upgrade our sports business model by coming to grips with our actual visitor culture and market.

    Houston has a nice big stadium, true enough. But, we also have a panoply of “sports bars”, even “tittie-bars”, and other venues that can be tweaked up for multi-lingual, multi-media, multi-everything.

    We have new-built apartment blocks in receivership that can be turned into Olympic-type “villages” for foreign fans.

    We are a commercial destination and technology origin.

    And, on and on …

    It would help if the Convention and Visitors Bureau would think of Houston as a diverse terminus for adding-value, not as an emulative hub for extracting value as indirect taxes.

    The Chamber — lawyers and regional Vice-Presidents — have it backwards and upside down: They do us no good by thinking of Houston as a two-bit knock-off of Atlanta or Miami. Those are, indeed, “gateway” cities. We are not.

    Actually, we are way better than that: more complex, a truely world-class port city.

  2. Andrew says:

    Can you imagine how much better our chances would be if we worked overtime to get Texas High-Speed Rail going? These are usually regional events anyway, and if Dallas (new cowboys stadium) and San Antonio (Alamodome) were in the mix, we could really have a great shot.

    A system could easily be built by then if we really set our hearts and minds to it… and the World Cup could be just the kind of catalyst to public support to get something moving sooner rather than later!

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