Reporting Tim Williams
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s not the type of football you expect to see at Ravens Stadium, but this weekend, the Gold Cup invaded Baltimore.
Tim Williams has more on the international soccer event that rocked the purple palace.
It’s a noise familiar to fans of the other football. Baltimore is once again on the international map as soccer’s Gold Cup takes M&T Bank Stadium by force.
“Games like this are usually held in FedEx, so to come here to M&T where the Ravens play is great,” said Jose Flores.
“Having it up here in Baltimore…kind of the same distance but being an Orioles fan, it’s a lot more closer to home,” said Aries Funes.
The teams involved are El Salvador, Ecuador, Costa Rica and the US. A major ingredient to what fans and businesses see as a winning recipe for soccer and the city:
“It’s creating an identity that we can take on these big events. We handle them well; we showcase the city well,” said Terry Hasseltine, Maryland Office of Sports.
The economic impact is measurable for restaurants and hotels. More than 50,000 tickets were sold and tourists are flooding Baltimore from around the world.
“You got two great countries, the U.S. and El Salvador, going at it, so we thought why not? Let’s go take a look; let’s go cheer the teams on,” said Kelvin Velasquez.
Promoters are not surprised by the support pouring into Charm City. With tickets selling between $42 and $165, the total economic impact is estimated in the millions for the sold-out crowd. By all accounts, it’s a major score for the city.
Except for friendly exhibition games, Baltimore has not hosted a match between two countries until now.