Copa America Centenario: Travel Guide for America's Soccer Championship

Things to Know When Going to Copa America's 100th Anniversary Tournament

••• Brazilian soccer fans. James Thompson

The Copa America usually is a tournament that pits the 10 countries from the South American soccer federation (known as CONMEBOL) in a tournament and two invited countries from outside of South America that takes place every four years. Copa America Centenario is a special edition of the tournament to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Copa America. It includes all the same countries from CONMEBOL plus six teams from CONCACAF, the soccer federation that oversees North and Central America as well as the Caribbean.

It’s the first Copa America tournament to be hosted outside of South America and the United States was chosen as the host. The mega-tournament is the biggest international soccer event that could be on U.S. soil other than the World Cup thus making it an incredibly attractive even to witness in June of 2016.

Tournament Overview

As previously mentioned, Copa America Centenario features 16 countries, 10 from South America and 6 from the grouping of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The three-week long tournament will take place from June 3rd to June 26th. The 10 cities hosting games are: Chicago, East Rutherford (outside of New York City), Foxborough (outside of Boston), Glendale, Houston, Orlando, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Santa Clara (outside of San Francisco), and Seattle. Each city hosts at least three games, with Chicago and Santa Clara hosting four games. Games are played almost every day for three weeks with only five calendar days not featuring matches.

The 16 countries are divided into four groups with each country playing one game against its three opponents in the group. The top two teams in each group advance to a single-elimination format. The four quarterfinal games take place in East Rutherford, Foxborough, Santa Clara, and Seattle with the two semifinals taking place Houston and Chicago, and the final returning to East Rutherford at MetLife Stadium.

The full schedule for the tournament can be found here.

Tickets

Ticket sales for Copa America Centenario started in January of 2016. Fans who registered in advance were provided presale information for venue passes. (Venue passes mean that fans buying tickets had to purchase them for all games at the stadium they were interested in.) Tickets to the final were excluded from the East Rutherford venue pass, but purchasers of that pass were entered in a lottery to win eligibility to purchase tickets for the final.) Fans had approximately a month to register and submit an application for tickets. The remaining tickets for each game were made available on a single game basis in March through Ticketmaster. At some venues, tickets in the lower level are only included as part of a larger hospitality package.

Tickets are also available through the secondary market in case you're looking to go to games that are sold out or better seats than what's available through Ticketmaster. Obviously, you also have the well-known options like Stubhub or TicketsNow (Ticketmaster's secondary ticketing website) or a ticket aggregator (a website that aggregates all of the secondary ticket sites except Stubhub) like SeatGeek and ‎TiqIQ.

According to Ticketbis.com, another secondary market provider, the best-selling games in the group stages are Argentina vs. Chile, the U.S. vs. Colombia, and Mexico vs. Uruguay, which also has the most expensive average ticket price so far. All together they’ve accounted for 30% of the sales Ticketbis has seen. People from Chile, Colombia, and Mexico are the most interested in the event as that’s where the most tickets are being sold outside of the United States. 

 

Move on to page two for more information about attending Copa America Centernario...

Hotels

The good thing about Copa America Centenario being hosted in the United States is that the games are all being hosting in cities that have plenty of hotel capacity. Finding hotels in those areas should be fairly easy with a wide variety of option from budget, to mid-range, to luxury. Your best option for finding hotels will be by using Trip Advisor as they can provide an aggregated search of available hotels while also providing high-quality reviews from previous customers.

You’ll be best off staying in the downtown areas as it helps for nightlife, restaurant, and transportation. When traveling to East Rutherford, Foxborough, Glendale, and Santa Clara, you’ll want to stay in the major cities nearby, which means New York City, Boston, Phoenix, and San Francisco respectively.

You can also look for a house or an apartment to rent as sometimes homeowners look to make a few dollars. You should constantly be checking websites like AirBNB, VRBO, or HomeAway to find the best deals.

Getting Around

Getting around the United States to view various games will likely require flying unless you stay within certain pockets like the Northeast or the Arizona/California area. Doing that might be quite expensive, especially if you wait to book your flights. Summer is the busiest season for flying, so that’s when airlines have their highest fairs. The easiest way to look for flight is with a travel aggregator like Kayak unless you specifically know what airline you want to travel on.

For those not looking to drive on trips within four hours, Amtrak is the way to go within the Northeast. Amtrak offers many trains daily from Washington D.C. to Boston, which stops in Philadelphia and New York City along the way. There’s also bus service from many different companies like Bolt Bus, Greyhound, Megabus, and several other companies.

 

For more information on sports fan travel, follow James Thompson on FacebookGoogle+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.