In Europe, teams play in front of empty stadiums as punishment. In the United States, they do it every other game in the Gold Cup.
CONCACAF just announced its venues for the Confederation tournament forever hosted by the United States, and they should be fairly familiar to fans of all field sports:
The region’s premier National Team tournament will again expand its footprint by visiting eight new world-class venues in this year’s edition: Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA; M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD; Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO; Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT; BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX; Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL; JELD-WEN Field in Portland, OR and Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT. Six new Gold Cup cities are featured in this group of newcomers, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Hartford, Portland and Salt Lake City. Houston and Miami return to host the tournament, for the 5th and 9th time consecutive time, respectively.
The event will also return to five venues from its previous editions including Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX (2009, 2011); Soldier Field in Chicago, IL (2007, 2009, 2011); Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA (1991, 2002, 2011); Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ (2011) and CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA (2005, 2009). Years in parenthesis denote Gold Cups at each venue.
As someone on the Twitter quickly surmised:
Gold Cup sites: 6 NFL stadiums, 2 college stadiums and 4 soccer-specific stadiums. Lots of $$$ and Hispanic-dominated crowds to be had.
— The Full 90 (@TheFull90) January 23, 2013
And, additionally, a few matches in cavernous stadiums at one-third capacity.
Despite the boosterism offered by CONCACAF about 600,000 in attendance and 9 sellout games, there were more than a few games in the Gold Cup two years ago played in NFL stadia that were two-thirds empty. They can’t all be Mexico/USA games. I always try to be polite to the Gold Cup, dutifully watching at inconvenient hours online in anticipation of some incredible refereeing blunder that destroys Canada’s chances. But the reliance on NFL venues—a big money-maker for the games which exceed 45,000 capacity—really sucks the life out a tournament that no one really cares about except the nations that rarely win it.