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  • Place your bets: What city will host the WWC2015 final?


    embargoed till i dunno, sunday?

    There will be more analysis of what the 2015 Women's World Cup will mean to Canadian soccer in the days and weeks ahead; but for now, I figured I'd take a completely speculative look at where the prestigious final game might be hosted (with a tip of the hat to colleague Steve Bottjer over at Red Nation Online, who's already made his prediction, although I did have this idea in the works for a few days. Honest!)

    Bottjer says Vancouver is a "good bet" to host the final. Well, I figured, why not present some full betting odds on the potential host sites? Betting always makes the beautiful game even better, right?


    Keep in mind that this is based on nothing other than my own preliminary thoughts -- and if I'm stupid enough to actually accept bets on this matter, I retain the rights to fully disavow any knowledge of these odds several years hence.

    It's also worth noting that the final of this year's Women's World Cup will be played at Commerzbank-Arena, a 52,000-person-capacity venue with 85 years of history that was renovated in 2005.

    Alright, here we go, from the least likely candidate to the odds-on favourite:

    King of Donair Stadium, Halifax: 1,000-1

    Now, this stadium doesn't actually exist, though if and when it does, there is a decent chance it'll be sponsored by the city's most popular purveyors of those disgustingly delicious meaty treats. (The restaurant chain does have a solid history with soccer in Nova Scotia, after all.) The debate over a stadium in Halifax is nearly as well-worn as the debate over a revitalized waterfront in Toronto, and as much as I love the place, I'd be surprised if the 'Fax ends up as one of the host cities at all, never mind the destination for the tournament's highest-profile match.

    Stade Moncton, Moncton: 500-1

    Yes, it's odd -- given the fact that I'm now, somehow, widely associated with the city and its quest to host high-profile soccer -- that I'd give the folks in New Brunswick such awful odds. But while the new stadium seems like a nice venue, and would certainly be suitable to host international soccer (Mission Moncton, Mission Moncton, Mission Moncton), you needn't do much more than compare the 10,000-seat Stade Moncton to the aforementioned Commerzbank-Arena to realize that the final being held in one of the Atlantic provinces is, unfortunately, merely a pipe dream.

    BMO Field, Toronto: 200-1

    If you're a gambler, this is probably some damn fine value. Sure, Toronto (as has been widely publicized) hasn't even been named as a potential host city, so you'd think the chances of BMO Field hosting anything are nil. But I get the impression the CSA is a bit peeved at Hogtown's apparent lack of interest in the tournament, Pan Am Games or not. So if Toronto soccer fans raise enough of a stink, there's a chance some 11th-hour deal could be struck. But by now you've taken a look at Commerzbank-Arena, right? Yeah, I don't care if it's called our "national soccer stadium" or not; the final of a senior FIFA World Cup ain't being played in a utilitarian, 23,000-seat facility stuffed underneath the Gardiner Expressway.

    Rogers Centre, Toronto: 199-1

    See points above. Gets the slightly better odds because it's big. Though you can't spell "big, ugly piece of FieldTurf-filled crap" without "big".

    Stade Saputo, Montreal: 197-1

    Better chance than Toronto because, y'know, Montreal is actually going to host games. But unless Honduras becomes a world power in women's soccer in the next four years (and God help me if that happens), this venue would make no sense.

    New CFL Stadium, Winnipeg: 100-1

    Jerrad Peters suggests WWC games in Winnipeg would be held at the new home of the CFL's Blue Bombers, which is projected to open next summer with a maximum capacity of 40,000. New facilities are always nice places to host big games. Though if the NHL's Jets are back by 2015 -- which some in the mainstream media seem to be banking on -- I can't imagine anyone in the city bothering to take the time to even notice the Women's World Cup being played. If the franchise is still wasting away in Phoenix though, hey, you could do worse than "New Bombers Stadium".

    New CFL Stadium, Ottawa: 50-1

    Speaking of new CFL venues... since Ottawa's about to get a third kick at the can in pointy-ball, they'll also be getting a shiny new stadium, and they've also got the symbolic advantage of being the nation's capital. However, FIFA doesn't like public expressions of dissent, so I imagine the hordes of torch-and-pitchfork-wielding NIMBYs in the Glebe won't be the sort of P.R. that the CSA is seeking for this marquee match.

    Stade Olympique, Montreal: 20-1

    Yes, I did just call the Rogers Centre a "big, ugly piece of FieldTurf-filled crap" and then give the Big O significantly better odds of hosting the final. But don't forget, visitors of Olympic Stadium have the chance to bring home a piece of World Cup history with them -- if they're fortunate enough to have a chunk of the 34-year-old stadium's facade fall on their head. Sarcasm aside, it has 66,000+ seats, it's hosted soccer before, Montreal's a beautiful city, bilingual angle, culture, food dammit why can't every city in the country be like Montreal? (quiet weeping)

    Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton: 3-1

    I'm not gonna lie, I did a lot of internal equivocating about these final two choices. I alluded to BMO Field as our "national soccer stadium", but before it was built, Commonwealth had that de facto title. The country's largest open-air stadium has been home to some of the country's most significant soccer moments, including the

    with Brazil in 1994 and, of course, the final of the 2002 U19 Women's World Cup, in which Christine Sinclair and the Canadians lost an extra-time heartbreaker in front of nearly 50,000 fans.

    But the turf, the turf, damn you the turf. Sure, Vancouver is a higher-profile town, and B.C. Place is a newer stadium (with significant renovations being completed this year). But if Commonwealth still had natural grass, I might be inclined to give them even odds (or even superior odds) to the favourite. As it is, though...

    B.C. Place, Vancouver: 5-2

    The venue makes perfect sense, the city will be primed for soccer after a few years of the men's Whitecaps in MLS, the post-Olympic hangover will have worn off, and a large percentage of the Canadian women's national team plays for the lady Whitecaps. So yeah, you're perfect, we get it, alright? Shut up.

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