With the "modernization of Sun Life Stadium ready to proceed, South Florida's Super Bowl officials are eager to make a strong push" for the '19 game, according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. NFL owners "will determine in October which cities ... will be invited to bid for the right" to host the event. South Florida Super Bowl Committee Chair Rodney Barreto said, "I think this is going to be something spectacular. The improvements are going to be incredible. It's been long overdue." Barreto: "They really love coming to South Florida. The last time I talked to (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell he spoke highly of the whole region and he wanted to come back. His message was, 'Wake up, you've got to be competitive with everybody else.'" Davis noted one of the provisions in the agreement with Miami-Dade County is "that for future Super Bowls the headquarters of the participating teams, as well as the league's center of operations, the media center and NFL Experience, be based in the county." That would "preclude a repeat" of '10 when Broward County "hosted most Super Bowl-related activities." But Barreto said that there will "be plenty of Super Bowl benefits throughout the region when the Super Bowl returns" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 6/18).
Events and Attractions
As soon as the men's U.S. Open ended Sunday, the USGA "began tweaking its setup at Pinehurst Resort for this week’s U.S. Women’s Open," according to Ted Natt Jr. of the Southern Pines PILOT. The grandstand by the 18th green is "being shrunk from 4,000 seats to 2,000 so it doesn’t appear half-full for the women’s championship." The USGA expected "as many as 55,000 spectators for peak days during the U.S. Open, but only about half that number for the U.S. Women’s Open." USGA Championship Dir Leighton Schwob noted that about 75% of the 6,400 volunteers for the U.S. Open also will "work the U.S. Women’s Open." USGA Exec Dir Mike Davis said that hosting the men's and women's U.S. Opens back-to-back "has generated more talk about the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open than any of the previous 68." He added, "We’re excited about that. They’re excited about that. In a lot of ways, this next week is going to be showcasing women’s golf. That’s one of the reasons we wanted to do it. It’s going to be neat to see them on the same iconic golf course here at Pinehurst" (Southern Pines PILOT, 6/19).
LADIES DAY: GOLFCHANNEL.com's Randall Mell noted the back-to-back U.S. Opens is "a grand experiment, really, because the USGA isn't sure they will do this again." Davis said, "There's no way this could be done on an annual basis. If we did that, we would lose some of our most favored venues. But we will look at it when's it's over and say, 'How did it go?' And, one day, 'Should we do it again?'" Mell wrote too often it is a "losing proposition for the women when their game is compared to the men's." Yet that is "what this week is all about." While the USGA is "aiming to set up this course in relatively the same conditions the men played it, the real intent goes beyond comparing the men’s game to the women’s." When former USGA Exec Dir David Fay "came up with the plan, his idea was bigger than that for the women." Davis said, "It’s really all about a celebration of women’s golf." Golfer Juli Inkster said, "I think the publicity we've gotten, it’s all positive. Everybody is talking about it" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 6/18). In New Jersey, Andy Vasquez writes if Pinehurst "passes the test, the USGA should look to pull off the double Open whenever it can." It "elevates the women's game into some much-deserved spotlight" (Bergen RECORD, 6/19). In Raleigh, Luke DeCock writes women's golf "will never have a better showcase than this." This is a "real chance to attract attention to a sport that has, despite a recent spike in growth, largely failed to keep pace with the PGA Tour" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/19). LPGA player President Vicki Goetze-Ackerman said, "From a standpoint of exposure, it's huge. There have been so many positives already in terms of publicity. We should have increased viewership, which could get us more fans and interest in women's golf and hopefully will lead to more young girls playing the game" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/18).
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: USGA Senior Dir of Licensing & U.S. Open Merchandising Mary Lopuszynski said that Tuesday was the "best day of sales at a merchandise tent for any U.S. Women's Open." She added, "I wish we did it every year, but I think the only way it would happen is if the two Opens were back to back again." GOLF DIGEST's Keely Levins noted this is the "first time the USGA has been directly overseeing the merchandise tent for the U.S. Women's Open." In years past, outside vendors have "been in charge of the operation of all things merchandise, but since the USGA was running the show for the men's Open, doing the same for the women's already made sense" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 6/18).
Dozens of soccer fans "broke into the Maracanã stadium" yesterday in Rio de Janeiro, marking the "first security breach" of the '14 FIFA World Cup, according to Jonathan Clegg of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The group of mostly Chile fans "rushed through a small security gate manned by only a handful of staff" outside the stadium media center, "crushing two temporary walls and damaging equipment." They "stormed through the media center, upending chairs and causing some minor damage before swarming into an outside corridor." They "forced down two temporary walls, damaging two TV sets and a bank of lockers before they were corralled by security." A group of about 30 fans "was later led away by local police, many of them covering their faces." It appeared that they "were ticketless fans trying to sneak into the game" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/19).
BRAZIL BUNGLES IT? The GLOBE & MAIL's Cathal Kelly writes the security breach "is proof that Brazil was not ready to host this tournament." That "failure will reverberate from now until the opening of the Rio Olympics in two years time." There are hundreds of "heavily armed riot police out in the streets outside the Maracanã, but very few inside the perimeter." That domain "was entirely left to private security." As a direct result of yesterday’s "fracas, that order has now been reversed -- police will patrol stadiums from here on in." Brazil has now "humiliatingly been put on notice that their preparations for this event are woefully sub-standard" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/19). But in Miami, Michelle Kaufman writes while things are not perfect at the FIFA World Cup, they "never are at big events." The exterior areas and parking lots of the newly constructed stadiums "were incomplete," while some electrical wires "were exposed, and some walls remain unpainted." But in the "grand scheme of things, those problems seem minor." Still, it "remains to be seen whether Brazil can get through the next 25 days without any major trouble" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/19).
SCARY SCAFFOLDING: In London, James Hider reports a temporary scaffolding stairway that "thousands of England fans will use to access" Arena Corinthians for today's match against Uruguay is "causing safety fears after a similar structure at Rio’s Maracanã was filmed wobbling dangerously during at a game on Sunday." Although no problems were "reported during last Thursday’s opening match at the site between Brazil and Croatia, disturbing footage from the Argentina-Bosnia match in Rio has triggered alarm that the Sao Paulo access point" to get into Arena Corinthians "may be just as shaky." Not all fans "will have to use the scaffold stairs, however, as there is a concrete walkway connecting the metro station to the stadium hill." But many of the 59,000 fans "expected for the game will be funnelled through it" (LONDON TIMES, 6/19).
FANS ARE FEELING IT: FIFA yesterday announced that a record-breaking 430,000 fans on Tuesday descended on fan fest venues in all 12 host cities across Brazil, taking the total attendance to 1.3 million after the first round of games in the group stage (FIFA).