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Your Vote Online May Improve Tampa's Chances To Host World Cup Soccer

On Friday, May 14, the U.S. bid committee will hand deliver its bid to the Federation Internationale de Football Association in Zurich, Switzerland. Tampa is part of that bid.

According to Travis Claytor, spokesperson at Tampa Bay & Company, FIFA will evaluate the bids over the next couple months, visiting cities and attending meetings in each. On Dec. 2, 2010, they will announce the countries who will host in 2022. If the U.S. is chosen, there's a good chance Tampa will be a host city, which is estimated to garner millions in revenue and an immeasurable amount of global exposure for the Tampa Bay region.

"There will be 12 to 14 host cities," says Claytor. "So there's another cut coming. We won't find out if we are the host city until five years out from the 2022 World Cup. So by 2017 Tampa should know if it's a host city."

Meantime, Claytor says there is plenty Tampa can do to improve its chances. A few months ago the U.S. committee initiated an online petition to show that the country had community support of soccer," Claytor explains. "We have been tasked with getting 50,000 signatures. All this is to show community support as a city and a country. Tampa currently has 13,000 signatures. We are in the top 10 as far as signatures garnered. Our goal is to stay there."

Claytor also says there will be watch parties around the Tampa Bay region for the opening match on June 11, 2010, and the closing match on July 11, 2010. Other parties are in the works for U.S. matches on June 12, June 18 and June 23. Claytor adds, "If the U.S. continues to the finals, there will, of course, be more watch parties."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Travis Claytor, Tampa Bay & Company
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