Uruguay and Argentina "will officially launch their joint bid for the 2030 World Cup next week at a ceremony involving the country's two leaders," Uruguay President Tabaré Vázquez said on Monday, according to the AFP. Vázquez added that the formal announcement of the bid would take place during a visit to Uruguay by Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Aug. 30. The move "coincides with Uruguay's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Argentina in Montevideo" on Aug. 31. The joint bid between the South American neighbors had "long been signaled." Uruguay, which hosted the inaugural World Cup in 1930, is "hoping to win the rights to the tournament with Argentina to mark the centenary of the event." South America last staged the World Cup in Brazil in '14, and any bid for '30 is "likely to face stiff competition from the Asian region, where China is expected to be the front-runner to stage the finals" (AFP, 8/22).
Events and Attractions
The England & Wales Cricket Board is "looking into the possibility of making the floodlit Test an annual feature" of the English summer after the first game at Edgbaston was "hailed as a success," according to Nick Hoult of the London TELEGRAPH. Warwickshire County Cricket Club "enjoyed" its biggest crowd for a non-Ashes Test on the second day of the match between England and the West Indies, and "despite the one-sided nature of the contest the club exceeded all its commercial targets for the game." The ECB is "now considering holding a floodlit Test every year in order to build up momentum" for the concept in the U.K. Next year, India will tour England along with Pakistan. One "stumbling block" for next summer will be that a later start time "would not be popular with Indian broadcasters" given the time difference between the two countries would mean the Test finishing in the early hours of the morning in Asia. In '19, Australia will tour England and it had been "assumed" the next floodlit Test would be in '20 because Ashes tickets "do not need the novelty of a floodlit match to sell." But the ECB worries that waiting until '20 for another floodlit Test "could be too long to wait," and if the floodlit Ashes Test is a success this winter, "there will be momentum for repeating it" in '19. Birmingham City Council estimated the floodlit Test was worth £15M ($19.2M) to the local economy "because the later start time saw more hotel rooms sold than usual bringing more money into the West Midlands area" (TELEGRAPH, 8/21).
UFC President Dana White said that the over/under on total PPV buys for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor boxing match is 4.9 million, which would be 300,000 buys "more than the record" for the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in '15, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. WME-IMG co-President Mark Shapiro said that ticket sales, which last week were reported to be greater than $60M, are "imminently trending to a record-setting level for combat sports," and prefight hype will "only stir the drink further." Shapiro said of the $72.2M gate from the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, "It's impossible for us to not break the record" (ESPN.com, 8/21). Showtime Sports EVP & GM Stephen Espinoza said that Twitter estimated that the level of social media interaction and engagement for the upcoming fight was "about five times bigger" than the level of the conversation around Mayweather vs. Pacquiao "at a comparable point." Espinoza: "Just because the conversation is five times bigger doesn't mean the buys will be. But it's certainly a good indicator at this point that people are interested enough to be discussing it on Twitter, which is the first step in intent to buy" (WSJ.com, 8/21).