Copa América 2024: What is It, History, and How to Watch in the US

Carter Lawson · Profile
Copa América 2024: What is It, History, and How to Watch in the US

For the second time ever, the United States will host the Copa América. But what is the Copa América, how does it fit into the organization of world soccer, and what is the history of the competition?

(Above image by CesarQuintt, CC0 via Wikimedia Commons)

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What is Copa América 2024?

The official name of the competition is the 2024 CONMEBOL Copa América, with CONMEBOL being the Confederation of South American Football. That’s a lot of words and letters, so let’s take a moment to explain.

As we explained briefly in this post about the history of football (and that controversial word “soccer”), world football is governed by FIFA, which is split into six regions all over the globe, one of which is CONMEBOL. Within each region, there is an annual regional club competition; in South America the main one is the Copa Libertadores. Also within each region, every four years, countries compete for (A) qualification to the FIFA World Cup, and (B) a regional championship.

Groundhopper Paul explained it all in this video, as well:

The Copa América is therefore the regional championship, among nations rather than clubs, of South America.

How to Watch Copa América 2024 on TV in the US

Fox Sports have the US rights along with Univision and TUDN. Every group stage and knockout game will be on one of the Fox Sports channels. You can also go see each game in person as the USA are hosts of the competition for the second time ever.

Where is the 2024 Copa América?

The United States will host the 2024 Copa América across 14 host cities/stadiums. The entire list is below:

Allegiant Stadium – Las Vegas, Nevada
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, North Carolina
Children’s Mercy Park – Kansas City, Kansas
Exploria Stadium – Orlando, Florida
GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, Missouri
Hard Rock Stadium – Miami Gardens, Florida
Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, California
Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia
MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, New Jersey
NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas
Q2 Stadium – Austin, Texas
SoFi Stadium – Inglewood, California
State Farm Stadium – Glendale, Arizona

Why is the United States in the 2024 Copa América?

While the US is not one of the 10 members of CONMEBOL, they have been invited by the confederation to participate in the tournament. Outside countries have been invited to the Copa América since 1993, with Mexico (10) and the United States (5) holding the most invites. Recently the format has shifted and now outside countries must qualify for the Copa América through the CONCACAF Nations League. The United States was the first non-South American host of the Copa América in 2016 when they hosted the Copa América Centenario, the 100th anniversary of the competition. 2024 will be the United State’s second time hosting the tournament and the fifth time competing in it.

History of the Copa América

The Copa América is the oldest continental soccer competition, and its history goes back more than 100 years. The first edition of this competition was held in 1916 in Argentina and featured Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Brazil. Uruguay went on to win the first Campeonato Sudamericano de Fútbol, the predecessor of the Copa América, and they have won it 15 times total, tied with Argentina for the most.

In 1987 Argentina hosted the tournament for the first time in 28 years and went in as heavy favorites as they fielded a squad almost entirely of World Cup winners from the previous year, including the legendary Diego Maradona. Despite this momentum, Argentina were surprisingly knocked out in the semifinals by Uruguay, who had a very impressive run in the tournament, winning 5-0 against a strong Brazil team and ultimately winning in the final over Chile. You can see the lone Uruguay goal in that 1-0 over Argentina below:

Starting in 1993, the format that we are used to today was introduced, meaning the usual 10 CONMEBOL teams competed but they also invited two CONCACAF teams to participate, Mexico and the United States. Argentina went on to win that year over Mexico who finished as runners-up, and that remains the highest finish for a non-CONMEBOL team in the Copa América.

The 2001 tournament was played in Colombia and featured one of the biggest upsets in international football history when small but mighty Honduras defeated the nearly unstoppable Brazilian team in the quarterfinals. To put this in perspective, between 1997 and 2007, Brazil won 4 of the 5 Copa Américas and showed no sign of weakness going into the 2001 tournament. On the other hand, Honduras was invited as one of the CONCACAF guest participants on literally 1-day notice due to other participants pulling out due to security concerns. They arrived hours before their first game with barely enough players to field a team and still managed to get third place in the tournament!  Truly a David vs Goliath situation!

In 2015 Chile hosted the tournament for the first time after Brazil had to pull out of their hosting duties due to their involvement in the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Chile would go on to win their first Copa América, defeating Argentina in penalties on home soil.

2016 was the 10oth anniversary of the competition and for the first time ever it was hosted outside of South America. The Copa América Centenario was hosted in the United States and had an expanded format featuring 16 teams total, 10 from CONMEBOL and 6 from CONCACAF. This tournament broke all of the previous Copa América attendance records and Chile went on to win again on penalties.

The 2020 Copa América — actually played in 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic — was won by Argentina and Lionel Messi. Perhaps surprisingly, this one Copa América win gave him more than both Pelé and Maradona combined.

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Written By Carter Lawson
Carter Lawson, Content and Social Media Director · Profile

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