The early rounds of this year's Cup featured half-filled stadiums (other than Kansas City's beautiful new Livestrong Park) seemingly picked at random all over the country. Half of the quarterfinals were played in a Third-World hellhole known as "RFK." Both Mexico and the US had to play 3 games in 3 time zones in a week because...meh, fuck it.
Like all American soccer fans, I'm still quite pissed about the Gold Cup. And not just because of Bornstein's incredible -4 performance or, Bob Bradley's....ugh let's just not even talk about it. What I'm actually most pissed about is how much better this tournament could be run.
Beyond the terrible schedule, though, the entire exercise lacked any real national interest until the final match, which was still regulated to Fox Soccer Channel and likely didn't have a hundredth of the audience drawn to the World Cup in 2010. And this was a year where the Confederations Cup bid was on the line- how will this thing do in 2013?
There's no reason this tournament cannot become a semi-annual
drinking excuse celebration for Americans during the dead sports months of summer. So I got to thinking about what could make this tournament "matter" to the national sportsfan pscyhe, and I came up with an idea: host the entire tournament in the college football stadiums of a single conference. The format would be simple enough for everyone to understand. If you keep it affordable, college towns are filled with the sorts of folks that will attend a Guadeloupe - Guatemala match. College fanbases would immediately adopt the underdog teams playing in their towns, giving you a bump in ratings. Hell, some people would tune in just to stare at their beloved gridiron for a couple of hours. It's a can't-miss idea.
So which conference deserves to try this experiment? For argument's sake, lets assume that all stadiums would be able to sell beer during games (except for BYU, of course). What schools in your conference would host the early group games? Where would the final be? How would you entertain your international guests? What else would you highlight in making your bid to host the next Gold Cup?