Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spartan Stadium makes World Cup shortlist

MSU's Spartan Stadium has been selected as a finalist for inclusion in U.S. Soccer's bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

Seventy stadiums, representing 31 states and the District of Columbia, were picked for the list. To be considered, stadiums must seat at least 40,000 people. Venues must top 80,000 (which Spartan Stadium doesn't, topping out at 72,000 and change) to get the World Cup opener or final.

Spartan Stadium would be considered a big - no, make that massive - longshot to make the cut considering a) how far East Lansing is from a major global airport (Detroit) and b) that two other Michigan stadiums are much closer. Those other two are Ford Field in Detroit and Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. The Pontiac Silverdome, which hosted games during the 1994 World Cup, was not on the list.

Other Big Ten/Midwest stadiums on the list include:
  • Beaver Stadium, State College, Pa.
  • Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisc.
  • Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
  • Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisc.
  • Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis
  • Metrodome, Minneapolis
  • Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
  • Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
  • Soldier Field, Chicago (which hosted the opening match in 1994)
  • TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis (still under construction, will host Minnesota football beginning this year)
U.S. Soccer will trim the field to 12 - though two of those spots will be for the final and opening game, which Spartan Stadium isn't big enough to host. One ray of light in this: The press release does note that the list includes stadiums in "college towns", meaning that the federation may have already made a conscious decision to host at least one series of games in a college town. And Lansing does have an international airport...

Click on this link for the full list of 70 finalists.

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