FIFA-Fi-Fo-Fum, Dallas Smells the Blood of a World Cup. Or, Let's Party Like It's 1994!
Way back in January Dallas made the cut of 18 cities that could maybe possibly fingers-crossed hold-your-breath host the Federation Internationale de Football Association's World Cup in 2018 or 2022. We're still months away from a final decision -- that won't happen till December 2 -- but tomorrow, the USA Bid Committee and eight other competing wannabes will formally present their best offers to FIFA at a wingding in Zurich, during which all comers have 15 minutes to make their pitch then chat up international media.
Hence, today's press release offering more details about what's to come. In short, whilst FIFA mulls over the competing bids, it'll send delegates, along with USA Bid Committee reps, to Dallas for a "technical tour" in September. City officials will sell FIFA on Dallas's history as a World Cup city in '94, when we hosted one of two opening ceremonies and six games at the Cotton Bowl, and Fair Park served as the International Broadcast Center HQ. (And, if memory serves, some of the greatest drinking in the history of ever occurred after the Brazil-Netherlands match on July 9.) Says Jim Graham, co-chair of the '94 host committee and chair of the Dallas Bid Committee, "The economic impact of the event was in excess of $300 million, and Dallas received international recognition on a daily basis for over two months. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I know that the DFW area is up for the challenge."
In a release sent out today, Mayor Tom Leppert says that "North Texas has some of the best soccer venues in the world and, as we saw in 1994, Fair Park is the ideal location for the International Broadcast Center. Playing World Cup soccer in North Texas will have a lasting impact on the game of soccer in the DFW region, and in the U.S." To which Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Phillip Jones adds, "Dallas has the infrastructure, transportation system, moderate weather, diversity, media market, hotels, attractions and the sports fans to deliver an unparalleled experience for spectators and competitors attending the world's largest sporting event."
But listen up: Only 9,462 people have signed the Dallas petition. Houston, meanwhile, has garnered 14,290 signatures. And that, right there, that ain't right.
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