• Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

Philadelphia plans for 2024 Copa América and other soccer games at Lincoln Economic FIeld

ByEditor

Mar 18, 2023

Dan Hilferty was currently at the center of Philadelphia’s 2026 Planet Cup preparing as the chair of the nearby organizing committee. But his current move to turn into Comcast-Spectacor’s new CEO has place him even additional at the center of the action.

Comcast is amongst the most influential sponsors of the nearby Planet Cup work, and absolutely the most well-known name. Comcast-Spectacor is just 1 branch of the organization, whose Television division owns the Spanish-language rights to the 2026 tournament (and this year’s women’s Planet Cup), as effectively as the rights to the English Premier League, Olympics, and U.S. national group dwelling games.

The a variety of branches commonly operate on their personal. But for some thing this massive, there’s overlap behind the scenes.

“We come across synergies and [are] figuring out how we could operate closely with FIFA to increase the fan practical experience,” Hilferty mentioned. “But also, rather frankly, to make confident that not only our buyers, but Philadelphians in basic have an chance to be component of this wonderful occasion.”

How that plays out will be 1 of the most significant nearby soccer stories of the subsequent 3 years. There’s currently been a lot of controversy more than plans to create a sports field complicated in FDR Park that would serve as a Planet Cup practice facility that summer season.

A loud caucus in South Philadelphia is opposed to developing more than park land recognized as the Meadows. A similarly loud caucus has responded by noting the city’s lack of recreational sports facilities. Nearby officials have attempted to claim there’s area for each.

» Study Extra: FDR Park neighborhood meeting draws hundreds, begins off in tense face-off

Protesters at a meeting in January about plans to create a sports field complicated at FDR Park.. … Read moreJessica Griffin / Employees Photographer

Hilferty created no reference to that topic, although that wasn’t also surprising — it is been handled additional by City Hall. But he has been involved in other places, which includes a series of current meetings with FIFA on subjects like hotel capacity.

“They really feel pretty superior about exactly where we stand,” Hilferty mentioned of FIFA. “Not only with the [stadium] internet site, establishing sponsorships, but also preparing about all the things from exactly where we’re going to do the fan fest to exactly where we are with all the hotels.”

The fan fest place is yet another massive item when it comes to matters beyond the sports complicated, for nearby residents and out-of-town guests alike. Penn’s Landing has been the front-runner place for a though, but Hilferty mentioned there’s nevertheless no selection however.

“That’s a dialogue with the people at FIFA, and at this point we haven’t identified a final internet site,” he mentioned.

The subsequent massive issue on the calendar is earning hosting rights for subsequent year’s Copa América, the South American championship tournament that will come to the U.S. as a warmup for 2026. As the 2016 Copa América Centenario did, it is anticipated to drive a spike in interest, and serve as a test run for Planet Cup host venues.

But there’s no assure that it will be played only at Planet Cup web pages. Cities that came up brief in the bidding could get Copa games as a consolation prize, as could massive markets like Phoenix and Chicago that didn’t bid for Planet Cup games at all. So Philadelphia will have to compete.

» Study Extra: Dan Hilferty, who ran IBX and helped Philly land the Planet Cup, is new boss at Comcast Spectacor

Lincoln Economic Field hosted games in the 2016 Copa América Centenario, and could host games when the tournament returns to the United States subsequent year.. … Read moreCal Sport Media through AP Pictures

Hilferty mentioned the Planet Cup organizing committee will not be officially involved in that, but he sent a message to the entities that will take the lead.

“I absolutely hope the powers that be that are involved, irrespective of whether it be the city, [the] Convention and Guests Bureau, that we have a superior shot at it.”

The Eagles will also be drastically involved — and games of the Copa’s scale would undoubtedly be at Lincoln Economic Field. No matter whether the U.S. plays right here or not, the crowds will simply be larger than Subaru Park’s 18,500-seat capacity.

“Our area is dwelling to a big and passionate soccer neighborhood,” the Eagles mentioned in a statement. “We will often be interested in participating in conversations that could lead to bringing planet-class soccer events to Lincoln Economic Field for these fans to delight in.”

Although the Planet Cup committee could possibly not be officially involved in Copa América preparing, Hilferty knows that absolutely everyone in town shares duty for acquiring marquee events right here just before 2026. The Linc hasn’t hosted a massive soccer game because August 2019, when the U.S. females came to town immediately after the Planet Cup and drew practically 50,000 fans — the most significant crowd for a standalone friendly in group history.

» Study Extra: Philly’s 2026 Planet Cup bid officials strategy for the scale of hosting the planet

The U.S. women’s soccer group drew 49,504 fans to Lincoln Economic Field for a game there in 2019.. … Read moreMitchell Leff / Getty Pictures

The pandemic has clearly been a aspect, but 3 and a half years is a extended sufficient wait. European teams will return to the U.S. for tours this summer season, and there will be the Concacaf men’s Gold Cup.

Nor has the internet site for the men’s Nations League final 4 been set however. That is the occasion exactly where the U.S. will probably play Europe-primarily based stars such as Medford’s Brenden Aaronson and Downingtown’s Zack Steffen, so they can take the summer season off. They haven’t played at the Linc just before, and it is effortless to think about them acquiring a raucous reception.

“If it is international events, if it is nearby events like the Unity Cup, to perhaps acquiring some [English Premier League] teams to come and play [here], we’re seeking at all sorts of possibilities,” Hilferty mentioned. “Obviously the city’s involved, the Convention and Guests Bureau is involved, the Eagles are involved, the Union are involved. So we continue to appear for methods to develop the game by inviting premier teams to play right here — guys and females.”

Final week, Hilferty was 1 of the guests of honor at the Union’s annual Legends of Soccer fundraiser dinner for the team’s charity foundation. The occasion raised additional than $282,000.

“We’re all pretty proud of the Philadelphia Union, [what] the Philadelphia Union Foundation does for our wonderful neighborhood of Chester and effectively beyond,” he mentioned.

» Study Extra: Gio Reyna, Zack Steffen return to USMNT for this month’s Concacaf Nations League games

Dan Hilferty (left) with Union component-owner Richard Leibovitch on stage at the Union Foundation’s Legends of Soccer Gala dinner.. … Read moreJonathan Tannenwald / Employees

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