Allianz Field Named as a Host for 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup
Allianz Field, the shiny new professional soccer stadium set to open next year in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul, has locked down hosting rights for a major international soccer tournament.
In an announcement Tuesday, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association of Football (Concacaf) named the stadium as one of 15 venues across 13 major U.S. cities to host matches for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
The tournament occurs every two years and features national teams of countries from North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. It’s billed as the region’s top soccer championship, drawing stadium crowds and millions of television viewers.
“Soccer has always brought people together from different cultures and backgrounds across the Twin Cities. Thanks to the new Allianz Field in St. Paul, soccer will now bring these different people together from across the continent,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, in a statement. “This Gold Cup game will be the biggest soccer game in Minnesota history and puts us on the radar of the US Men’s and Women’s National Teams.”
Allianz Field will host two of the Gold Cup games next July, though it’s yet to be determined which teams soccer fans will get to see play.
Six teams already qualified for the 2019 competition through their participation in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Hexagonal qualifier round. These teams are: Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States. The remaining 10 Gold Cup teams will be determined by FIFA matches designated as the Concacaf’s Nations League Qualifiers. The games will be played in September, October and November of 2018, and March of 2019.
News of the hosting gig comes just after Minnesota United acknowledged the cost of the field has risen once more. As the Pioneer Press reported, the price was originally marked at $150 million, then moved to $200 million, and is now expected to be around $250 million. The soccer club will shoulder that high cost, outside of tax exemptions and basic infrastructure contributions by the city of St. Paul.
“It’s considerably higher than we talked about in the beginning, and when we move in, we will have a final accounting of how to really talk about it,” said Minnesota United principal owner Bill McGuire. “But it’s a substantive investment.”
There’s hope that investment is paid off in part by attention cast on the Twin Cities through events like the Gold Cup hosting gig.
“The Gold Cup Match at Allianz Field will showcase all that Minnesota has to offer,” said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, “including fine dining and nightlife, rich cultural amenities, and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities.”
Added Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, “The Gold Cup is bringing the world’s game to Saint Paul’s world stage. I’m excited to highlight our city and showcase the vitality Allianz Field will bring to our community.”
Once completed, Allianz Stadium will have a seat capacity of 19,400 and a standing supporters section with a capacity of 2,800 fans. Work on the stadium began in May of 2017 and is expected to be completed in February 2019.
Season ticket holders for the 2019 Minnesota United season will be offered a pre-sale to purchase tickets for the 2019 Gold Cup. More details on the tournament are set to come this fall.