The Gold Cup has been around for 20 years, and in the 10 previous editions, only two have been played outside the USA (and that was only half of the games in the tournament). I can understand the logic for the first few tournaments, but it is definitely time to give other countries a chance. I also understand that will never happen. There is too much money to be made by leveraging the expat fan-bases in the US. Namely, the ones who wear green.
Is it a coincidence that the biggest stadia in the tournament are the ones where Mexico will be playing their games? The average seating capacity for Group A’s stadia is 71,500, compared to 25,200 for Group B, and 49,500 for Group C. Throw in the capacities for the knockouts and it bumps up to over 75,000. It adds up to about 20-25 million in ticket sales (avg. ticket price $50). And that’s just for the Mexico games.
CONCACAF won’t get that at the Cuscatlan. Or at Saprissa. Or at San Pedro Sula. And it’s reason #1 why the Gold Cup probably will never be played anywhere else. Gold indeed.
And that’s a shame.
Let’s not forget that CONCACAF ain’t the only ones that are leveraging the Mexicans in the US market. CONMEBOL likes green as well, but they would prefer to capitalize on the eyeballs glued to TV sets in two markets: Mexico and the Mexican population in the US. The ad dollars and rights fees are a lot healthier when Mexico plays in the tournament.
Mexico’s forays into the land of the Copa America haven’t been just for publicity and TV ratings. Mexican sides have more than acquitted themselves well in the tournament. They've made the finals twice, and the semis 5 times in their 7 participations.
This time, though, CONCACAF put the governor on Mexico’s participation next summer (winter) in Argentina by mandating if you go, it can only be with a U23 team. Mexico had also been politicking for years to host the tournament, but that probably won’t happen. And chances are this will be the last time Mexico plays in the Copa America anyway.
And that’s a shame.
“Mexico belongs in CONCACAF. It may not make everyone happy, including the South Americans, but this is where Mexico should play.” Chuck Blazer said.
Mexico has gotten better by playing in Copa America, which has made all of CONCACAF better as well. CONCACAF would be better still if some the other members would get to host the Gold Cup once in a while too.