Soccer is internationally recognized as the most popular sport to both watch and play. While this may not currently be the case in the United States, it is growing in popularity with the expansion of Major League Soccer. The Columbus Crew made history in 1999 when it played its home games in the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States. The stadium cost 28.5 million dollars and was financed by Crew owner and oil billionaire, Lamar Hunt. Crew Stadium can seat over 20,000 fans which is considered to be one of the larger soccer venues in the country.
Columbus Crew Stadium has also hosted some major events including 2 MLS all-star games and the 2001 MLS Cup Championship. Most notably, the U.S. National team has hosted their rival, Mexico, in 4 different World Cup qualification matches in Crew Stadium. The U.S. National team prefers to play against Mexico in Columbus as the U.S. has won each match at the stadium, 2-0. In the 10th Anniversary Edition of Stadia Magazine Crew Stadium is recognized as the most influential stadium in the world. The stadium has “kick-started” the establishment of more soccer-specific stadiums within the U.S. and has also been a catalyst to the rise of the sport’s popularity within the country.