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Local Visitors Bureau Submits Soccer Complex for Inclusion in U.S. Bid for FIFA World Cup in 2018

Bureau finds big opportunity working with USA Bid Committee

Harrisburg, PA – The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) today announced the bureau’s ongoing effort to have Harrisburg’s City Island soccer complex included in the United States bid to host either the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup™.

HHRVB’s Sports Marketing Manager, Gregg Cook, first contacted the USA Bid Committee in November, after learning of the bid being developed by that organization on behalf of the United States Soccer Federation to host the Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s (FIFA) 21st or 22nd World Cup Finals.

The bureau pitched the city’s soccer facility, currently the home of the United Soccer League’s Second Division Harrisburg City Islanders, for use as an ideal Team Base Camp centrally located to several of the major metropolitan cities being considered on the East Coast with easy accessibility by air, rail, or bus.

Among the many detailed bid requirements, FIFA asks that bidding countries include in their submissions adequate practice facilities defined as Team Base Camps, where the 32 teams competing in the FIFA World Cup could live and train for up to a month prior to the beginning of the event.

“We have been tracking this bid process for some time and we saw a chance for our region to get involved once the final host cities for the U.S. bid were announced,” said Mary Smith, President of HHRVB. “Being centrally located near four of the 18 potential host cities, with ample lodging and easy accessibility, made our region a highly desirable location for the bid committee.”

FIFA's 24 member Executive Committee will be making a decision on the host country and location on December 2, 2010.

Tourism officials have estimated hosting a team in the region would have an economic impact exceeding $500,000 to the region in direct and indirect spending by the 30-40 members of the soccer team and support staff who would be living in the community for up to a month.  Officials say one team alone would account for approximately 900 room-nights for local hotels.

The World Cup has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not contested because of World War II.  It is the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world, with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the 2006 final.

The United States previously hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1994, as well as the FIFA Women's World Cup in 1999 and 2003.

The 18 cities included in the USA Bid are: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa and Washington, D.C.

Author: Rick Dunlap

Public Relations Director
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
3211 North Front Street, Suite 301 A, Harrisburg, PA 17110