UPDATE: World Cup champions coming to Chattanooga
UPDATE: When the U.S. Women's soccer team plays in a sold-out Finley Stadium next month, they will do so as the 2015 World Cup champions. The USA defeated Japan 5-2 on Sunday.
This marks the first sellout for Finley in nearly a decade and only the fourth sellout in the stadium's history. General tickets were gone just hours after they went on sale Wednesday. The least expensive tickets were $30 for general admission on the lawn; those are re-selling at $120, four times their face value, on StubHub.
"It will be the first time that any kind of world champion team has ever played in Chattanooga, so it's quite exciting," said Paul Smith, Executive Director of Finley Stadium.
When Paul Smith started lobbying for the women's national soccer team to play at Finley Stadium, there was no way of knowing they would be World Cup champions.
A group of key players started meeting with us soccer in March to make it happen.
"More than anything I think it will be one of those games that Chattanooga remembers for decades," Smith said.
All 20,000 tickets sold out quickly and the tickets being re-sold on websites like Stubhub are seeing a price increase of more than 300 percent.
Ticket sales will go to the U.S. Soccer organization.
"We pretty much hand them the keys to the castle and said here you go, here's the seat diagram and they take 100 percent of the sales and revenue of the seating," Smith said.
Finley Stadium wll keep the revenue from parking and concession sales, and the hope for a long lasting relationship with US Soccer.
Baylor's women's soccer coach thinks the visit will also come with an inspirational message.
"Just because you might not make it the first time, that's not an opportunity for you to quit, that's an opportunity for you to work harder."
Curtis Blair says the teamwork and hard work by the Women's National Team will be used as lessons in his coaching this season. Many of his young players already have tickets to the game in Chattanooga.
"I'm thinking probably 99.9 percent are all going," Blair said, "All the girls are really excited, I mean once they found out they were coming to Chattanooga, it just sort of blew up.
There's still a chance more people will get to see the women's team play.
The team will practice at Finley Stadium the day before the game, and if the coach allows, that practice will be open to the public.
"We're really hoping that Jill, the women's soccer coach, says yes," Smith said, "Because I know that there's a ton of people who want to buy tickets that can't."
Many local soccer fans are wondering if the big names will be here for next month's game.
If history is any indication, then they will be. After the 2011 World Cup the team played games in Kansas City, Portland and Phoenix.
All the starters played in those games.
The last sellout for Finley Stadium was the 2007 NCAA D1 FCS National Championship game between Appalachian State and Delaware. The UTC Mocs sold out Finley once on opening day, October 18, 1997. Depsite frequent calls from supporters to #FillFinley it has never happened after opening day.
General tickets for the U.S. Women's National Team soccer match in Chattanooga went on sale Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. and sales were so fast that Ticketmaster's website had difficulty keeping up within the first 10 minutes.
An opening day crowd of 22,646 saw UTC football defeat Tennessee State 28-7 back in 1997.
Other #FillFinley Sellouts
- October 18, 1997 - Opening Day: UTC Mocs vs Tennessee State
- December 14, 2007 - FCS National Championship: Appalachian State vs Delaware
- December 15, 2006 - FCS National Championship: Appalachian State vs Massachusetts
The U.S. will take on Costa Rica on August 19 following the World Cup tournament. The game is 6:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN2.
The U.S. WNT won the World Cup final on Sunday in Vancouver against Japan 5-2. Costa Rica is out of the World Cup after losing to Brazil and tying Korea and Spain.
The last time the U.S. WNT was in Chattanoooga was 1997 when it played Sweden in front of more than 13,000 fans. At the time that was the largest crowd to ever watch a soccer game in the state of Tennessee. That game followed the gold medal in the 1996 Olympics but was two years before USA won the 1999 World Cup. The USA won 3-1 over Sweden with goals from soccer legends Tisha Venturini, Kristine Lilly, and Michelle Akers. Mia Hamm and Brandy Chaistain were also on the team that came to Chattanooga.
Finley Stadium is home to Chattanooga FC soccer team which is a member of the National Premier Soccer League. The NPSL is sanctioned by the USASA as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), and FIFA.
When asked how many fans to expect at the game, CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said, "How many fans will Finley Stadium hold?"
"This game is just the beginning of a long-term relationship with US Soccer, McDaniel added. "We're planning to bring many more international matches to Chattanooga in the coming years."
Finley Stadium holds 20,668 and organizers expect fans from Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, and other parts of the region to attend. Nashville is expected to set the attendance record with U.S. Men's National Team game on July 3 versus Guatemala. More than 35,000 tickets are already sold for that game on Friday, July 3.