(SAN DIEGO) America’s Finest City scored a big goal yesterday when the U.S. Bid Committee announced that San Diego is one of 18 finalists selected to host World Cup soccer games. San Diego had been among 50 cities across the country that had expressed an interest in serving as host.
The news is a big vote of confidence in San Diego’s world-wide allure and its ability to handle an international event. By the end of this year, FIFA is expected to select the host countries for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
“This is a big feather in our city’s cap,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “I’d like to thank everyone involved in this effort, including members of my staff, as well as the San Diego Sports Commission, the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association and the San Diego Lodging Industry Association.”
The economic impact of serving as a World Cup host city would be enormous. The event would generate an estimated $350 million to $500 million in business for San Diego. In addition, it would produce an estimated 300,000 hotel room-night rentals for the city. The 2003 Super Bowl in San Diego, by comparison, generated 168,000 room-night rentals, and the 2008 U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines generated 74,000 room-night rentals.
If the U.S. wins its bid for either the 2018 or 2022 Cup, the Bid Committee would narrow down the list of 18 cities to a final 12-14. Each of these cities would host six to eight matches over a two to three-week period.