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Copa Business?

One of the stranger stories to emerge over the last day was the announcement that a 2016 version of Copa America would be played in the United States.  The possibility was greeted with great enthusiasm, but before the day was out, the United States Soccer Federation was quick to douse the excitement , by stating that no deal was in place.  According to reports, a number of hurdles need to be cleared in order to permit such an event to go forward.

Whether or not the tournament gets finalized, the business implications are tantalizing.  First, the presence of 16 top teams in the United States, including the USA, Mexico and teams like Brazil and Argentina would be a fantastic spectacle for a Summer tournament.  Sold out football stadiums around the country would play host to exciting matches and raucous crowds.  Tickets would likely be extremely expensive, but it would be a showcase event that would dwarf the Summer of Soccer friendlies that usually dot the July landscape.

The television possibilities would also be extremely promising.  With ESPN set to air the 2016 version of the European Championship the preceding month, it seems likely (although not certain) that another one of the networks competing for soccer prominence in the United States would pay significant dollars to broadcast all matches of the 16 team tournament. Imagine NBC starting the Summer with Copa America as a lead-in to the Olympics in Rio.

The impact on MLS would also be interesting to follow.  The league couldn’t afford to shutter for the entirety of Euro and Copa America.  Yet the competition for soccer eyeballs would be intense.  The league would be significantly overshadowed on its own turf for almost a month.