Two of the world's most recognizable soccer teams.
The city's largest sporting complex.
A bid for the 2018 World Cup hanging in the balance.
The stage was set for Atlanta to make a serious push towards earning a host spot in the world's largest sporting event.
But apparently, Atlanta residents didn't get the memo as 37,000 Georgia Dome seats were left unoccupied on Wednesday night during the Club America vs. Manchester City match—also known as the Aaron's International Soccer Challenge.
So what did the turnout mean for Atlanta's hopes of hosting a World Cup? Probably just a longer wait.
Judging from the comments of some Atlanta residents, the turnout for the Aaron's International Soccer Challenge wasn't quite as bad as one may think when compared to the 50,000-plus that turned out for last summer's match between Club America and A.C. Milan.
Sure, the prices might have been higher and the European opponent not quite as appealing, but there are only four months remaining until FIFA makes its decision on where the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be held and the roughly 33 percent drop in fan attendance from the 2009 match cannot be a good sign for Atlanta's hopes of hosting.
Even if the U.S. is chosen as a World Cup host country, Atlanta is still on the outside looking in when it comes to being selected as one of the host cities—especially considering the fact that the MLS All-Star Game in Houston was a sell out with an attendance of 70,700.
Despite Atlanta's global appeal, the Dome will be celebrating its 30th birthday when 2022 rolls around and holding matches inside isn't very appealing to the soccer traditionalists—not to mention that hauling in 77,625 square feet of grass sod for every match simply wouldn't work.
Renovating the Dome might be one solution, but as we all know, that isn't likely to happen any time soon.
It's great to hear Mayor Kasim Reed's desire to bring a World Cup to Atlanta, but how attractive of a candidate can we truly be for an international soccer competition if we can't even generate enough interest domestically?
Regardless of the city's immense cultural diversity, Atlanta's sports diversity—outside of football, baseball and basketball—simply isn't up to snuff.
Not surprising at all.. Most of America is a sprawling-strip mall dotted-suburbia speckled-freeway.
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