Officially announced this morning, Orlando was revealed to be one of the 12 cities across the U.S. to host the 2016 Copa America Centenario. The announcement confirms this report, which we told you about last week.
The tournament is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the inaugural Copa America, South America's quadrennial soccer championship, which took place in Argentina in 1916. To celebrate the milestone, this tournament brings together 16 teams -- six from the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the ten that make up the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL).
The CONMEBOL teams scheduled to participate in the Copa America are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. For CONCACAF qualification, host USA and Mexico are automatic entrants, while Costa Rica (2014 Copa Centroamericana winner) and Jamaica (2014 Caribbean Cup winner) qualified this fall. The final two teams from CONCACAF will be determined in a double-header playoff set for Jan. 8, 2016, in Panama City, Panama. Trinidad & Tobago will face Haiti, as Panama squares off against Cuba, with the winners qualifying.
"Hosting the Copa America Centenario at the Orlando Citrus Bowl is a great example of what our community can accomplish when we come together for a common goal," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs in a statement. "These events are not only exciting opportunities for our residents, but will draw thousands of people from across the world benefiting our local economy. The tournament is expected to draw approximately 40,000 room nights and projected to yield $30 million in economic impact to Orange County."
Orlando City also announced that as a way to say thanks, Orlando City SC, Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B season ticket holders, along with members of other sports-related organizations that contributed to making Orlando the "Soccer Capital of the South," will be eligible for an exclusive private sale. More information on the ticket allocation process will be communicated in the coming weeks. For more information, fans can visit www.ca2016.com.
This will be the first major soccer tournament hosted in Orlando since the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.