by John Egan
The U.S. women's soccer team captivated the country with its commanding victory in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Members of the winning team included three players on the Houston Dash women's professional soccer squad: Meghan Klingenberg, Carli Lloyd and Kealia Ohai.
Houston now can claim three world-class soccer players. But Houston can claim other big dots on the world map as well. After all, if you're seeking a place to host a conference, meeting or event, don't you want to do it in a world-class city?
In honor of Meghan Klingenberg, Carli Lloyd and Kealia Ohai, we present 16 World Cup-worthy facts and figures about Houston.
- The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world's largest event of its kind, attracting around 2.5 million visitors each year.
- Houston ranks No. 8 on National Geographic's 2015 list of the top nightlife cities in the world.
- Houston appears at No. 14 on a 2014 ranking of the world's most influential cities.
- The Texas Medical Center is the world's largest medical center. The institutions within the Houston center employ more than 106,000 people and treat about 7.2 million patients each year.
- Houston ranks as the fastest-growing destination in North America for international visitors.
- Home to more than 5,000 businesses in the energy sector, Houston is considered the "energy capital" of the world.
- Given its status as NASA's hub for human spaceflight, the Johnson Space Center arguably is the world's epicenter of space exploration.
- If Houston were an independent nation, it would rank as the world's 30th largest economy.
- As measured by cargo traffic, the Port of Houston ranks among the 15 busiest ports in the world.
- 26 Fortune 500 companies are based in the Houston area.
- The now-shuttered Astrodome, dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World," is the world's first indoor air-conditioned, domed stadium.
- The Houston Theater District lags only New York City for the highest concentration of theater seats in one geographic area.
- Houston is one of only five cities with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines: opera, ballet, music and theater.
- Houston Grand Opera is the only opera company in the world to win a Tony, two Grammys and two Emmys.
- With over 78,000 square feet of skating surface, the North Houston Skate Park is one of the world's largest skate parks.
- By 2023, Houston "will be widely acknowledged as America's next great global city," according to Forbes.com.
Learn more about planning your next meeting or event in Houston at www.visithoustontexas.com/meetings/