The Aaron's International Soccer Challenge (AISC) kicks off tomorrow night here in Atlanta, but the match's impact may not be felt until 2018.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, along with representatives from each of the participating teams—Club America and Manchester City—addressed the media this morning inside the Georgia Dome with the city's hopes of hosting the 2018 World Cup hung in the balance.
"The Aaron's International Soccer Challenge continues the long tradition of Atlanta being the perfect stage for large sporting events which attract the sporting world's attention from well beyond our city and our country's borders," Reed said. "Atlanta is a world-class sporting city with a proven base of fans that support a wide range of sports. We're a city that embraces our international community. We're a city that embraces international sporting events."
In what sounded more like a late-night paid programming advertisement, Mayor Reed continuously plugged the city as a viable candidate to host international sporting events, but he wasn't the only one making the subtle pitch to FIFA—the governing board in charge of selecting host countries for the World Cup.
International Events Group Organizations partner and AISC organizer David Simmons also used the press conference as a platform to promote the city of Atlanta as a host site for the 2018 World Cup.
"There is a buzz building in the city," he said. "You can feel it, you can hear it and once again Atlanta is hosting top international soccer. This will be a great event for the city. It's got a huge economic impact, it's got massive repercussions for what happens in the World Cup in the future."
In addition to making an appeal to the general public, Mayor Reed also assured the players and coaches in attendance that Atlanta would serve as an ideal host for an international sporting event such as the World Cup.
"We are a true soccer city now," he said. "We look forward to competing for the FIFA World Cup [and] we hope that the experience that you have during this time will send a powerful signal to how much Atlanta and the state of Georgia embraces and enjoys and loves soccer."
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