This year’s Copa America Centenario is taking place across 10 U.S. cities. It’s the first time in more than 20 years a major international men’s football tournament has taken place outside of South America.
CCTV’s Roza Kazan reports from Chicago.
Follow Roza Kazan on Twitter @rozakazancctv
Though Fox Sports shelling out $15 million for broadcast rights, the tournament has been marked by low TV ratings and attendance.
Despite the fact that the USA vs. Argentina semi-final Tuesday night in Houston sold out nearly 72,000 tickets, previous matches saw stadiums fill at just two-tier or even half capacity. Under 40,000 attended the USA vs. Costa Rica game, 47,000 at USA vs. Ecuador, and the attendance for the Peru matchup with Haiti was only 20,000.
Paul Banks, owner and editor of TheSportBank.net said the empty seats are due to the large size of the stadiums.
“It’s being played in very large stadiums, very large football stadiums,” Banks explained. “And that’s why these stadiums look a lot emptier than they are.”
Beyond game interest, fans have said tickets, ranging from $95 to $450, are simply priced too high.
As for television ratings, they aren’t recording great interest either. English-language matches are drawing about 1 1/2 million viewers — a far cry from the 11 million who watched the USA beat Ghana during the World Cup two years ago.
Nevertheless, Banks still believes Americans do have the appetite for the beautiful game and said interest is growing. Loyal fans too say it’s just the beginning.
Diego Saralegui discusses business behind Copa America
For more on the business behind Copa America, CCTV America’s Michelle Makori spoke to Diego Saralegui, programming and business development manager of GOLTV. Saralegui shared his thoughts on the importance of this tournament to host cities and sports retail companies, as well as its impact on travel industry and immigration issues.