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Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

2024 Copa America promotes soccer viewership in the U.S.

Junior+Ameya+Menon+became+a+soccer+fan+during+the+2022+World+Cup%2C+buying+an+Argentina+jersey+after+the+tournament.+Similarly%2C+the+Copa+America+hopes+to+draw+in+new+audiences+and+generate+profit.+Photo+used+with+attribution+to+PVHS+student+Avantika+Menon.
Junior Ameya Menon became a soccer fan during the 2022 World Cup, buying an Argentina jersey after the tournament. Similarly, the Copa America hopes to draw in new audiences and generate profit. Photo used with attribution to PVHS student Avantika Menon.

On Dec. 4, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) announced the venues and dates of the 2024 Copa America, the South American men’s soccer championship. 

The summer competition will take place from June 20 to July 14 across 14 cities and 10 states in the U.S.. This is the second time the U.S. has hosted the international competition; the first edition was in 2016.

In the past, CONMEBOL’s 12 team format allowed space for two teams from other federations.

Expansion of the Copa America has allowed 16 teams to compete: 10 teams from CONMEBOL and six from The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). 

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The U.S., Jamaica, Panama and Mexico fall under CONCACAF and will play in 2024. This will be the fifth time the U.S. has played in the Copa America, though no nation outside of CONMEBOL has won the competition.

The national teams will begin play in a round-robin style group stage. Main title contenders Argentina, Mexico, the U.S. and Brazil will play in groups A, B, C and D, respectively. Remaining group stage draws were made on Dec. 7.

Following the group stage, the two leaders in each group advance to the knockout stage. Quarterfinals, semifinals, a third place playoff and the final will follow.

Although soccer viewership in the U.S. has been historically low compared to international popularity, the number of people who name it as their favorite sport has increased seven times from 1990 to 2017. 31% also call themselves soccer fans, as of 2019.

In an increasingly globalized world, exposure to soccer is on an upward trend. “I’ve been a fan of both club and international soccer for a long time. It’s exciting to see more people keeping up with our national team, especially with a promising generation of young players,” said senior Delaney Fitzgerald.

As this rise in popularity continues, national economic benefits follow. 

Inter Miami’s signing of Lionel Messi in July, for example, revitalized Major League Soccer (MLS). Widely considered the greatest soccer player of all time, Messi’s arrival increased ticket prices to Inter Miami’s home and away games by over 1,000% across the country. 

Within days, Adidas ran out of Messi jerseys, and on the day of his first game, the MLS Season Pass on Apple TV gained 110,000 new subscriptions. 

The Copa America also comes ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted jointly by the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The countries expect to generate $5 billion from the tournament, with a net benefit of $3 – $4 billion, and support 40,000 jobs. Each host city also predicts a net economic gain of $90 – $480 million.

Similar benefits can be expected from the Copa America. 

The large-scale international competition will feature some of the biggest names in soccer, including Messi and Argentina’s World Cup winning team. Brazilian superstars Vinícius Jr. and Neymar, if recovered from injury, will play as well.

These players will undoubtedly attract attention and increase revenue. “Players like Messi won’t necessarily make every American become a soccer fan, but they will bring huge amounts of media attention to the tournament. News coverage and more publicity around soccer are always good for the sport,” shared junior Muhammad Baig, a member of the PV boys soccer team.

Money from both the international and domestic audience will go to transportation, hotels, ticket sales and other expenses. FOX Sports, the Copa America streaming platform for U.S. residents, can also expect an increase in subscription sales from fans across the nation.

The Copa America is an exciting occasion for the U.S. and U.S. Men’s National Team to promote soccer in the country. With the help of international teams and nationwide attention, Americans have the opportunity to experience the joy of the world’s sport.

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About the Contributor
Laura Chen, Feature Editor
Laura Chen is a junior at Pleasant Valley High School and currently serves as the Feature Editor for the Spartan Shield. Outside of journalism, she enjoys her AP 3D Art and photography classes as well as Calculus III. At PV, Laura is the co-president of Ceramics Club, leads Book Club, and is involved in numerous other activities, including Math Club, Women in STEM, and girl’s tennis. Alongside her school activities, she plays the piano and plays the cello in the Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra. She also works as a hostess and waitress at Red Lantern. In her free time, Laura loves reading and listening to books and can be found at the Bettendorf Public Library, perusing the graphic novels or spending time in the Creation Studio. Her other pastimes include watching reality TV and keeping up with international soccer. Laura is excited to write for the Shield and collaborate with the other staff members!

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