Reporting Tim Williams
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore gets another chance to shine in the international spotlight. The quarterfinal matches of soccer’s Gold Cup will be played at M&T Bank Stadium.
Tim Williams has more on the positive impact expected for the area.
It is the latest victory for area sports fans.
The Baltimore Blast just captured the Major Indoor Soccer League Championship. This summer, the excitement of soccer continues.
“This is an international match. We’ll have people flying into BWI and staying in our hotels. This will be a big deal for downtown,” said Kirby Fowler, president of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.
That big deal takes center stage at M&T Bank Stadium in July. Baltimore is one of 13 cities to host the 2013 Soccer Gold Cup, an event that happens every two years.
“I think it’s a real honor that Baltimore is chosen for this Gold Cup event. Clearly we demonstrated very well that we could pull off these events in the past. Soccer is becoming more and more popular here and in the country, and we’d like to be on the cusp of it,” Fowler said.
This will be the third time “the other football” will be played on Russell Street.
Previous success and financial boosts came from European opponents. International travelers have set the bar high.
“It’s a great game. It’s a great atmosphere to go in and see. A bit different from the NFL,” said an Australian tourist.
In 2010, about 36,000 tickets were sold. The number jumped to 40,000 in 2012.
The Gold Cup features teams from Central and South America, so Baltimore’s proximity, travel ease and a growing local fan-base could push those numbers up.
“Stadiums are so closely connected to downtown, and you can walk to restaurants, you can walk to hotels, bars, etc. It’s just a great experience you don’t have in a lot of other states and a lot of other cities,” Fowler said.
Tickets for the matches will be available to the public this coming Thursday, March 21.