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Who’s watching the Copa?

 Copa America 2024 - Argentina training

Copa America 2024 - Argentina training

REUTERS

Fans across the Americas will tune in tonight to watch a different type of football – fútbol – as Argentina and Canada kick off the first match of Copa America. The tournament, which features top national soccer teams from North and South America, has been around for over 100 years. This year marks its first edition on its new four-year cycle to align with the UEFA European Football Championship, aka Euros.


Why is the US playing host? The decision was announced last year as a part of a strategic agreement between the CONMEBOL, the South American Football Confederation, and the Concacaf, the North/Central American and Caribbean soccer federation, to develop the sport ahead of the 2024 World Cup, also to be hosted in North America. The other reason is simple: money.

Copa vs. Euro. Despite being the world’s oldest soccer tournament, Copa America has long struggled to escape the shadow of its younger brother, the Euros, for a few reasons. It features fewer teams (16) than its European cousin (24), and the same few teams – Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay – often dominate, making it less competitive overall. Also, while the region is home to some of the world’s best players – Messi, Pele, Maradona, Di Stéfano – it’s a more concentrated talent pool than Europe.

The Euro also outpaces the Copa in scale, money, and publicity – in a day, for example, French superstar Kylian Mbappé made headlines for political activism, a broken nose, and his team’s first Euro match win. It’s hard to compete with that kind of attention.

Feeling competitive? Our in-house Argentinian, intern Sophia Burke, expects the World Cup champs to bring another trophy back to Buenos Aires, but we’ll be watching to see whether the Copa can get enough folks on this side of the Atlantic buzzing about football/soccer to rival the Euros.

GZEROMEDIA

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