Daily Record Business Writer
August 20, 2009 7:38 PM
Maryland’s two professional football stadiums have made the latest round of cuts and remain in consideration for the U.S. bid to host soccer’s World Cup in 2018 or 2022.
After eliminating 13 more stadiums, 32 remain, the U.S. bid committee announced Thursday. The list, which started with 70 stadiums in April, had been cut to 45 in June.
Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Ravens, and Landover’s FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, stand a good chance to both make the final cut of 18 stadiums, said Terry Hasseltine, the state’s sports marketing director.
“At end of day, if we get one [stadium] or we get two, Maryland wins because it happens on our soil,” said Hasseltine, whose office is with the Department of Business and Economic Development. “Our goal is still to have two when they’re down to 18, and I think we can do that.”
He said that M&T Bank Stadium and FedEx Field — separated by just 34 miles — provide a nice one-two punch. M&T’s smaller size and central location downtown is ideal for early round play where there’s more activity and attendance is more spread out, while FedEx’s 91,000-seat capacity is better for later rounds with larger crowds. M&T seats about 71,000.
“In all honesty, you could anchor one-quarter of field in this one area ... and I’ve pitched it that way,” said Hasseltine.
RFK Stadium in Washington also remains in the running.
The stadiums must now send to FIFA a more detailed list of specs including security capabilities, staff, parking and other event necessities and local amenities such as hotels and transportation.
Baltimore gained points with FIFA when M&T hosted a sold-out game between Chelsea and AC Milan in July, Hasseltine said.
Bids are due to FIFA by May, and the selections will be announced in December 2010.