FIFA President Gianni Infantino today said that he "intends to encourage co-hosting" for the '26 World Cup, a move that could "divide the tournament up between as many as four countries," according to Tom Finn of REUTERS. Infantino said, "We need FIFA to show we are reasonable and we have to think about sustainability long-term." Finn notes concern has been "raised about the financial burden placed on a single tournament host, and the bad publicity generated by stadiums built and then abandoned after use." Finn notes the only time FIFA has "previously sanctioned co-hosting" was in '02, when Japan and South Korea "staged a tournament that was widely heralded as a success." The idea has "taken off" at the UEFA European Championship, starting with Belgium and the Netherlands co-hosting in '00 (REUTERS, 2/16).
COMING TO AMERICA? FC Dallas Owner Clark Hunt said he is "very optimistic" that the U.S. will "be in the mix" for hosting the '26 World Cup. Hunt: "You never know how those processes are going to turn out, but I feel like we have a very good chance. ... FIFA understands that it's to their benefit to bring the sport to this country given the wealth of the country and also the strong appetite for the sport here" ("Big Mac Podcast," STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 2/14).
Lions President Rod Wood has "informed the NFL he's ready to toss Detroit's name into the ring" in the next round of bidding for the Super Bowl, according to Kyle Meinke of MLIVE.com. Wood said, "I've also expressed (interest) about the NFL draft, whether that'd be at Ford Field or just here in Detroit. So I've at least put forward [an] expression of interest, and we'll see where that goes." Ford Field hosted Super Bowl XL in '06, and now that the building is 15 years old, the Lions are "going to have a much more difficult time securing a bid." Even with $100M in stadium renovations "expected to be completed by the fall, Detroit would have to wait" until at least '22 as Minneapolis, Atlanta, Miami and L.A. have already been awarded the next four games (MLIVE.com, 2/16). Along with the Super Bowl and NFL Draft, Wood said the Lions would “love to have another Final Four at some point” and expressed an interest in bidding on “other big events, both football and non-football related,” including the Big Ten Championship (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/16).
The countdown to the '18 Women's Final Four in Columbus "unofficially began" yesterday when the logo was unveiled during the Greater Columbus Sports Commission's annual Women's Sports Report, according to Andrew Erickson of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. The logo includes "images specific to Columbus, including a graphic of a Short North arch as well as the word 'COLUMBUS' with 'US' designed to stand out in white lettering." It was also announced a non-conference "Countdown to Columbus" event will take place Nov. 12 at Nationwide Arena, site of the Final Four. Ohio State will play UConn, while Louisville will play Stanford. The '17 Final Four is taking place at American Airlines Center in Dallas (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 2/16). In Columbus, Laura Newpoff notes the design of the '18 logo, which includes purple, orange, blue and white colors, was "inspired by the diversity" of the city. It was designed by Pennsylvania-based Joe Bosack & Co. (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/16).