Region’s history of supporting the “World’s Game” and potential for up to $600 million boost to local economy cited in effort to bring tournament to county
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council today gave its unanimous support to bringing one of the world’s premier sporting events to the Puget Sound region. The Council adopted a motion supporting the city of Seattle’s bid to host the 2018 or 2022 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup.
“King County and the greater Seattle area has long been an enthusiastic soccer region. The region’s support of Seattle Sounders FC demonstrates the level of passion and commitment to soccer,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, an avid recreational soccer player and prime sponsor of the motion.
“The unprecedented fan support for the Sounders’ playoff run showed that Seattle is one of the best and most enthusiastic soccer towns in the United States,” said Council Chair Dow Constantine. “I’m pleased to add the King County Council’s support to the ongoing effort to earn the honor of hosting a future World Cup.”
“King County would be an exciting and welcoming host for the World Cup,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “We have all the ingredients to be successful hosts: great stadiums, wonderful hotels and restaurants, an improving mass transit system, and—most importantly—enthusiastic soccer fans.”
The motion supports the effort to achieve maximum cultural and economic benefits to the region should Seattle host the World Cup. Seattle is one of 27 cities in the U.S. competing to become a host city.
“From the youth leagues in Wallingford and Fremont to adult leagues on Capitol Hill to pick-up games at NewHolly, the ‘World’s game’ has become ‘America’s game’ in my district,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett. “I applaud the effort to bring this premier athletic event to our region because this is a sport that brings nations and cultures together in friendly competition and cultural exchange.”
“South King County’s long history of neighborhood soccer programs and the success of the Sounders confirms that we live in a region that embraces the game of soccer,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “Hosting the World Cup would further establish King County as an international hub for culture, sports, and commerce.”
In May 2010, the U.S. Bid Committee will select and submit the names of U.S. cities bidding to host the World Cup. FIFA will then decide which countries will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Other countries submitting bids include Australia, Belgium, England, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, and Spain.
Soccer has a rich history in King County and Seattle. Large and enthusiastic crowds have been a staple for professional soccer matches in this region since 1976, when the Seattle Sounders first played in the Kingdome. This season, Seattle Sounders FC is breaking records for Major League Soccer attendance and merchandise sales, and more than 125,000 young people actively compete in soccer matches on over 1,000 soccer fields in King County.
In addition to the global recognition associated with hosting the World Cup, the U.S. Bid Committee estimates a domestic economic impact of $5 billion if the U.S. is chosen to host the World Cup. A study recently released by the Committee projects an economic impact of $400 million to $600 million for each host city, assuming there are 12 host cities and five to six matches are played in each.
“Hosting the world's largest non-Olympic sporting event would be a significant economic boost in our region,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “As many as 8,000 new jobs could be created in our region to prepare for an event of this scale.”
“The immediate and long-term benefits to our regional economy could be a boon to local small businesses,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents Northeast King County. “The introduction of our numerous, varied recreation opportunities to a worldwide audience holds potentially broad rewards for the clean, renewable tourism industry here.”
Two stadiums in Seattle could potentially host a World Cup match: Qwest Field and Husky Stadium. Potential training sites in King County that meet FIFA’s requirements include the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, and the soccer stadiums at Seattle University and the University of Washington.