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WWOC CONFIDENT OF ATTRACTING FANS TO EVENT'S LARGE VENUES
Published November 20, 1997
The '99 FIFA Women's World Cup Organizing Committee (WWOC) formally announced the eight venues to host its soccer matches and "rather than the modest tournament originally conceived when the U.S. made its bid for the 1999 World Cup, the committee opted for major stadiums," according to Ike Kuhns of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. For a complete site list, see yesterday's DAILY. But "concerns over whether women's soccer has developed enough of a following to fill such large venues were put aside by" WWOC President & CEO Marla Messing. Messing: "We believe this is an Olympic-sized event. This is the world's championship of women's soccer and, as the women play more and more, their fan base grows bigger and bigger." Messing said the WWOC was faced with a choice of 5,000-10,000 seat stadiums or 60,000-70,000 seat facilities. Messing: "We would rather see the event reach its potential and we definitely feel that for certain games, the opening game, the final game, the U.S. games ... we will fill the stadiums. For some of the first-round games, we're not expecting to fill the stadiums, but if we can put 20,000 in there rather than 10,000 we're very happy" (STAR-LEDGER, 11/20). In N.Y., Jere Longman adds that some U.S. Soccer execs have estimated an average attendance of 25,000 (N.Y. TIMES, 11/20). CALLING ALL STATIONS: The Women's World Cup Finals includes 32 games scheduled from June 19-July 10, 1999. Messing: "Our job is to generate awareness. We're not where we need to be, but the (U.S.) team is going to play about 30 games between January of '98 and June of '99. ... As far as our financial objectives for the tournament, they're really to break even" (USA TODAY, 11/20)....Tickets are tentatively scheduled to go on sale in March (NEWSDAY, 11/20)....In L.A., Randy Harvey notes that the World Cup finals will be played at the Rose Bowl, and adds, "The Rose Bowl and L.A. Sports Council deserve credit for bringing the 1999 Women's World Cup final to Pasadena. But why weren't more games awarded to the Rose Bowl?" (L.A. TIMES, 11/20).