Copa America: 13 host cities ranked on ‘soccer’ interest from indifferent to ignited

Ryan Baldi
Copa America ranking
USA host cities of Copa America ranked on 'soccer' interest...

The United States will host the Copa America for the second time when the 2024 edition kicks off this week.

South America’s biggest international tournament was last held in the States back in 2016, for its centenary year. Then, an average attendance of over 45,000 was almost double the previous year’s iteration held in Chile.

Aiming to capitalise on a post-Messi soccer boom this time around, the use of enormous NFL arenas and thriving football communities surrounding many of the venues could see attendance figures rise even higher.

Here, we’ve ranked every city set to host games at the 2024 Copa America by football interest and history.


13) Austin, Texas

There will be two group-stage fixtures – Jamaica-Venezuela and Costa Rica-Paraguay – played at Q2 Stadium, the 20,738-capacity home arena of MLS side Austin FC.

Formed in 2018, Austin FC became the city’s first-ever top-division soccer club when they joined MLS in 2021. Before Los Verdes’ inception, the Austin Aztecs played in the USL for two years before moving to Orlando and the Austin Bold, founded in 2017, still play in the USL Championship, a league designated division two status in the US soccer landscape.

A long-overlooked market in terms of soccer interest, Austin’s humble stadium and still-growing thirst for the game is reflected in the level of Copa America matches that will be held in the city, with neither match containing a contender.


12) Las Vegas, Nevada

The driest state in the US, Nevada also has a pretty arid soccer landscape. Its biggest club is the Las Vegas Lights, who play in the USL Championship with an average home attendance under 6,000.

But Sin City has proven in recent years that it can deliver large soccer crowds provided there is enough star power on show. Allegiant Stadium, where the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders play their home games, has hosted a number of soccer matches since it opened in 2020. The 2021 COCACAF Gold Cup final between the US and Mexico drew 61,514 spectators, and pre-season friendlies involving Manchester United and Real Madrid have packed in over 50,000.

It remains to be seen whether Ecuador-Jamaica and Paraguay-Brazil can sufficiently satisfy Vegas’ thirst for big names. If the USMNT top their group, they’ll play their quarter-final match there, too.


11) Orlando, Florida

Orlando was a host city during the Copa America Centenario in 2021 and, for a match between Costa Rica and Paraguay, delivered one of the lowest attendance figures of the competition, with just 14,334 fans showing up.

But the hope will be that the improvement of hometown MLS side Orlando City SC – who finished second in the Eastern Conference standings last season and reached the Conference semi-finals – will have helped grow soccer interest in the region.

Even if attendances remain on the lower side, though, the fact Orlando’s Inter&Co Stadium has a modest capacity of 25,500 means any lack of support in the stands shouldn’t feel too glaring.

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10) Arlington, Texas

The home of the NFL’s most glamorous franchise, the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium in Arlington – about a 25-minute drive west of Dallas – is fittingly exuberant, boasting an 80,000 capacity that can be reconfigured to fit 105,000 seats, an enormous overhead screen and an imposing dome structure.

There is a long-established history of soccer in the region, with FC Dallas – originally known as the Dallas Burn – founder members of MLS. A modest franchise starved of success, however, they are not one of the powers of the league and in 2023 had an average home attendance of just 18,287.

Some 82,000 packed into ‘Jerry World’ – so named after Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ brash billionaire owner – to watch a pre-season friendly between Real Madrid and Barcelona in 2023, though. So if the stars are on show, the fans will show up. The USMNT’s group opener against Bolivia will surely draw a strong crowd. The same might not be true of AT&T Stadium’s other group fixture between Peru and Chile.


9) Glendale, Arizona

It’s fair to say Arizona’s club soccer history is about as bountiful as the Sonoran Desert. Phoenix Rising FC, the biggest football club in the state of Arizona, are the reigning USL champions. But they have only existed since 2014 and typically draw crowds of around 6,000 for home games.

The 63,400-seater State Farm Stadium, which belongs to the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, has in the past produced huge turnouts for USMNT and Mexico games, though. El Tri, in particular, have drawn attendances in excess of 60,000 three times at the arena.

With its proximity to the border, State Farm Stadium will likely see a massive attendance again on June 30 for Mexico’s group-stage showdown with Ecuador.


8) Santa Clara, Califonia

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to some of the most storied franchises in the major American sports. In the NFL, there’s the five-time Super Bowl-winning San Francisco 49ers. In baseball, there’s the San Francisco Giants, who’ve won the World Series eight times. And there’s Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, the most successful team of the past decade.

And while the city’s biggest soccer club is USL League Two side San Francisco City FC, who play their home games in a modest athletics stadium often used for high-school gridiron, nearby San Jose lays claim to one of the original MLS clubs.

Not only were the Earthquakes founder MLS members, they played in the league’s first-ever game, with legendary USMNT striker Eric Wynalda scoring the first MLS goal. They have since won two MLS Cups and two Supporters’ Shields.

Levi’s Stadium, the 68,000-capacity home of the 49ers, is located around 40 miles south of San Francisco in Santa Clara. Opened in 2014, it has hosted two Super Bowls and a WrestleMania, and its attendance record of 80,000 was set by an Ed Sheeran concert last year. Levi’s is the venue for Ecuador-Venezuela and Brazil-Colombia at the Copa America.


7) Houston, Texas

The Houston Dynamo have been delivering top-level football to the biggest city in America’s largest continental state since 2006, winning two MLS Cups.

They play their home games at the 22,000-capacity Shell Stadium, but the purpose-built soccer venue is not on the docket for the Copa America, with the three tournament games in the city instead set for NRG Stadium, the 72,220-seater arena of the Houston Texans NFL franchise.

Although more accustomed to gridiron games, NRG Stadium has a strong soccer history, too, having staged multiple USMNT matches as well as home friendlies for the Mexican national team. El Tri will play there again at the Copa, taking on Jamaica in their opening fixture.


6) Charlotte, North Carolina

North Carolina’s most populous city might have only had an MLS team since Charlotte FC joined the league in 2019, but the region has shown a thirst for football that long pre-dates the inauguration of the club currently managed by former Aston Villa boss Dean Smith.

Charlotte was listed as one of the major US cities interested in having an MLS team back when the league first began in 1996. And in the 1980s, the Carolina Lightnin’ were one of the most successful teams in the now-defunct American Soccer League. And in two-time NWSL champions the NC Courage, North Carolina claims one of the most successful women’s soccer clubs.

Charlotte FC play their home games at the Bank of America Stadium, a 74,867-seater mega-arena they share with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and that’s scaled down to fit 38,000 fans for MLS fixtures.

With a large and vibrant grassroots soccer community in the city, and with the Bank of America Stadium having drawn big crowds for past Gold Cup fixtures and pre-season friendlies between European clubs, there is optimism that droves of supporters will show up for the semi-final and third-place play-off set to be hosted there in the 2024 Copa America.


5) Atlanta, Georgia

A fitting venue in which to kick off the tournament, the 71,000 Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is home to the Falcons of the NFL but also Atlanta United of MLS, whose fans routinely generate one of the liveliest atmospheres in the league.

United have only existed for a decade, but the region took quickly to soccer. When they won their first-ever MLS Cup on home soil in 2018, they did so before 73,019 supporters, a record attendance figure for a stand-alone MLS game.

But Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni’s decision to omit Thiago Almada, the most expensive signing in MLS history, from his Copa America squad means Atlanta’s own South America superstar will not be on show when the holders take on Canada in the curtain-raiser.


4) Kansas City, Missouri

Home to Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and the Super Bowl champion Chiefs, Kansas City demonstrated a healthy appetite for the round ball earlier this year when Lionel Messi came to town.

For the visit of Inter Miami, Sporting Kansas City switched from Children’s Mercy Park, their 18,475-capacity home stadium, to Arrowhead, the cavernous arena occupied by the Chiefs during the NFL season. And 72,610 showed up – paying exorbitant ticket prices for the privilege – and watched the GOAT score a belter in a 3-2 win for the away side.

Arrowhead is only set to host one game at the Copa America and it won’t involve Messi. CONMEBOL and the USSF will be hopeful of an equally impressive turnout, though, for the USMNT’s group-stage match against Uruguay. Children’s Mercy Park, meanwhile, will stage a showdown between Peru and Canada.


3) Miami, Florida

More commonly associated with the parade of beautiful people in South Beach, its vibrant nightlife and, in a sporting context, the Dolphins of the NFL and the Heat of the NBA, Miami has shot to soccer relevance in the last 12 months.

Lionel Messi’s arrival last summer instantly made Miami – or, more accurately, Fort Lauderdale, where Inter Miami play their home games – the epicentre of soccer in the States.

And while Inter’s Chase Stadium is not one of the arenas chosen to stage Copa America games, Messi will be present for at least one fixture at the Dolphins’ 64,767-capacity Hard Rock Stadium, where Argentina will face Peru in their last group game. And if the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner has his way, he’ll be back there again on July 14 for the final.


2) East Rutherford, New Jersey

Combining the vibrant, multi-cultural metropolis of nearby New York City, a cavernous modern mega-arena and a rich history of soccer in the region, it is no surprise that East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium has not only been chosen to stage three Copa America games – including a semi-final – but also the 2026 World Cup final.

Soccer has long been a staple of the area. The New York Red Bulls – who began life as the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, one of the original MLS clubs – play in nearby Harrison. And long before MLS was conceived, the New York Cosmos averaged crowds upwards of 45,000 at Giants Stadium, a pre-cursor to MetLife, in East Rutherford during the height of the North American Soccer League in the late 1970s. The area also boasts the reigning National Women’s Soccer League champions, Gotham FC.

Home to the Giants and Jets of the NFL, MetLife holds 82,566 and will host Chile-Argentina and Uruguay-Bolivia in the group stage.


1) Inglewood, California

The Los Angeles area has a long and storied soccer history, from Johan Cruyff and George Best playing for the Aztecs of the NASL to David Beckham at the Galaxy. No club has won more MLS Cups than the Galaxy and the addition of LAFC in 2018 added a second prime destination club and regular title contender in the city.

The lifestyle offered by the proximity to Hollywood and a wealth of marketing opportunities has always made LA one of the most attractive landing spots for star players. And the cultural diversity of southern California – with a particularly large Hispanic contingent – has aided football’s popularity in the area.

Located in the LA suburb of Inglewood, SoFi Stadium – where the NFL’s Chargers and Rams play their home games – is one of the most impressive new-build arenas in any sport. The 70,240-capacity stadium will stage two group-stage games, including appearances from Mexico and Brazil.