The United States have not hosted one of the two major international sporting events since 2002. Since then, Americans have brought home 968 medals from Olympic and Paralympic games, as well as zero knockout stage wins in the World Cup.
With the early parts of the next round of hosting bids underway, it is no surprise that the U.S. is interested in hosting either the Olympics or the World Cup.
After the failed Boston attempt for the summer games in 2024, Los Angeles has picked up the torch. The third stage bid book has been sent to the International Olympics Committee for analysis. The final vote will be in September.
As for the World Cup, the bid process is yet to officially kick-off. Under the new process, brought in because the other may have been corrupt, the “consultation process” will begin in May, with official bids being submitted by December 2018.
With Europe and Asia hosting the next two World Cups, it is a good guess the games will come to the CONCACF region, North and Central America. The U.S. is an early frontrunner, either in a solo bid or a joint bid with Canada and/or Mexico.
The thing is, is it worth going back-to-back with an Olympic Games and a World Cup?
It is a small sample of nations pulling the double. It is just Brazil with the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Games. Simply put, it did not work for them.
Currently, the famed Maracana Stadium, the crown jewel of both events, serves as the best example of what can go wrong. The stadium is now dark with a dispute with a power company over bills. There have been looting issues, and the stadium itself is falling apart and playing surface being infected.
Other venues that hosted have had similar fates. The Arena Amazonia in Manaus, built for the World Cup at $300 million, is now just a parking lot.
That being said, Brazil was way over its head in trying this feat for the first time. In a time of economic and political hardships, they spent money they didn’t have in the first place. Now, what is left behind is falling apart.
It is hard to say that about the U.S., even in the worst of times. Whatever your views are of Donald Trump, it is hard to rationally believe he will damage America enough to what Brazil reached just a few years ago.
Speaking of the Donald, he did come out in support of the LA2024 bid saying, “I would love to see the Olympics go to Los Angeles. I think that it’ll be terrific.”
Trump has not commented on a World Cup bid yet, but the head of the U.S. Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati has said that the bid is a “secondary” issue behind Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Perhaps it won’t be the economy, rather politics that scamper the World Cup bid. At the moment, it is hard to gain a clear picture if Mexico would play ball with the U.S.
The one major thing the U.S. has over Brazil is existing infrastructure. While the Brazilian events needed major construction and renovation projects, they would not be needed for either event.
The official LA2024 bid has a major selling point of not needing any new permanent construction. The major facilities will be in place with the planned construction of the new Inglewood Park Stadium for the Los Angeles Rams and LA Football Club soccer stadium.
That would likely be the same for a World Cup bid. The current assembly of purpose built soccer stadiums and mixed-use football stadiums would suffice.
Even with the expanded 40-team field, FIFA said only 12 stadiums would be needed, but the U.S. alone has that. Add a bid with one or both of the neighbors, and there would be no need for building.
But if there is likely only to be one, let it be the Olympics. That is the more difficult bid to get, as Chicago has demonstrated. LA2024 looks to be a solid bid with all the details in place.
World Cup bids are set to become easier to get, as Europe-hosted events will have a couple of cycles of separation. A U.S. World Cup will come, but let the Olympic Games come first.