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Sunil Gulati

Bid Presentation Transcript: Sunil Gulati

Sunil Gulati, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation and chairman of the USA Bid Committee, was a presenter for the USA bid

As someone who’s been involved with football’s development in the U.S. for more than 25 years, it’s difficult for me to not be proud and at the same time humbled by seeing those videos and hearing Landon's words.

With all of the achievements of those 25 years, I’d like to focus on a few key milestones, where thanks to FIFA – and frankly thanks to many of you in this room – decisions were made that make it possible for me to be here today…

Let’s go back to 1984, when the Los Angeles Olympics featured sold out stadiums for football, with over 100,000 people at the final.

It was this event that set the stage for the United States to seek FIFA’s support to bring the World Cup to the U.S.

Move forward ten years…. FIFA saw that potential, took what many thought was a big risk and trusted us with the ‘94 World Cup.

It resulted in a World Cup that not only set records, but proved to FIFA that the U.S. had the potential to be a real soccer nation.

That’s why Major League Soccer was launched in 1996 and today is one of the many success stories that confirm we are on the right course.

And now, here we are at another crossroad for the sport…

Working with FIFA, we have achieved so much. But the best is yet to come. That’s why we are asking for your help to complete our 50-year plan.

We believe hosting the 2022 World Cup in the United States is a strategic decision for FIFA — a decision that will enable what we started together in 1984 and thought almost impossible — to be fully realized.

Let me touch quickly on a few areas where our rapid development will continue.

Fans of the Game. 100 million of them. 112 million watched the World Cup this summer. 25 million for the World Cup Final.

Imagine that number doubling. Imagine 200 million active avid American fans for our beloved game.

Let’s look at investment in the sport. As you know, our bid does not include investment in new stadia. But we have a quiet phenomena taking place with the construction of purpose-built soccer stadia. Thanks to Major League Soccer, we now have seen one billion dollars spent building these facilities—that will be available as training facilities during the World Cup.

Today we have nine of them but I’m sure in the next few years we’ll have every team with its own stadium. 

And finally something that excites me is the passion that has developed in our country —

This bidding process has been very tough, but it’s given us the tools and focus to get our cities behind us aligned behind the game like never before. As a result, they are ready to work with us like never before.

As you know, we have 18 candidate host cities – in fact 23 signed FIFA contracts, but we were asked to submit no more than 18.

These 18 will compete to be one of the 12 or so cities that would finally host games in the World Cup.

This provides flexibility to FIFA and ensures that we can promote the game in ways never before thought possible as we prepare to host a World Cup.

Preparing for a World Cup 12 years in advance is an exciting proposition. We are eager to do that and I want to show you how by touching on a few points in our hosting concept.

Let me start by saying we are committed to a professionally managed World Cup in great cities with wonderful already existing stadia that average 76,000.

We have hotels to suit every need, a modern transportation system, and training facilities that provide quality and privacy for all qualified teams.

And we have a government that stands behind us at the local, state and federal levels to guide our way.

I could go on, but let me show you a short video that highlights some of these points.


I now want to talk a little bit about legacy — a vital and often overused word but that has a special meaning for us.

Our legacy will not be seen through massive infrastructure projects. Instead, it will be seen through three key areas.

I have already spoken to you about how the game in the U.S. will benefit.

Now I’d like to talk a little about the international Economic legacy. 

From a tournament perspective, it will be a major success. Setting new records for ticket sales, selling out every match. Promising record profits for FIFA to invest in the game worldwide.

But I’d also like to look at the long-term impact, since it is critical for you to understand how a U.S. hosted World Cup benefits FIFA and its members around the world.

I believe television income may the best indicator for what is yet to come. Let’s look at how this area has developed in the U.S.

You see here a 20 times increase since 1990, virtually doubling every four years.   Today the U.S. is already one of the largest sources of TV income for FIFA. But, I want to show you how much capacity we have.

U.S. based NBC paid just over $1 billion for the 2012 Olympic Games. This is more than 4 times what the U.S. broadcasters pay for the FIFA World Cup. Clearly FIFA’s ability to generate television income is considerably enhanced if the USA were to host a World Cup in 2022 and you have a report that shows you just that.

Now let’s look at Sponsorship, another important area for growth. U.S. companies have a history of supporting football. In fact, many of FIFA’s partners come from our country. But, historically, we know these investments were often made for activation purposes outside of the United States.

Lately, this has been changing, and we think the trend is exciting.

This first chart shows how sponsorship investment in football has increased in the United States since 1993-- a 30 fold increase. Today, over $200 million a year is spent on football sponsorship but that is only a small percentage of the $9 billion dollar sports sponsorship market in the U.S.

With the fundamentals in place I am confident that hosting a World Cup in the U.S. will drive this figure considerably higher.  In fact, we believe in the ‘second half’ of our 50-year plan, sponsorship in football will exceed one billion dollars.

Combined with growing broadcast rights fees, this provides extraordinary financial resources for us and for FIFA to grow the game not only in the United States, but throughout the world.

Finally, there is the social legacy of hosting a World Cup in the United States. This is something we take very seriously. Helping society and protecting our environment are important parts of our plan.  

And I cannot imagine anyone better to discuss these issues than our final team member.  Whether it’s in rural Tanzania or in Port-au-Prince, an American citizen, but in my view a global treasure, I’d like to ask our Honorary Chairman, Bill Clinton, the forty-second President of the United States, to speak to you today to conclude our presentation.

Thank you.