NEW YORK (March 30, 2010) – President and CEO of AEG, Tim Leiweke, has formally accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee in its effort to bring the FIFA World Cup™ to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
Leiweke is in his 14th year with AEG, a global live entertainment organization specializing in developing, producing, promoting, marketing and managing sports and entertainment programming around the world. He was recently selected by the Los Angeles Times as one of the 100 most influential people in southern California and by the Sports Business Journal as Sports Executive of the Year
“AEG has an unparalleled history with soccer in the United States and Tim has played an important role in developing the sport’s legacy in this country for many years,” said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “He is a tireless worker whose international experience and industry connections will be invaluable assets to the USA Bid Committee moving forward.”
Operating under Leiweke’s direction are AEG divisions such as AEG Live, devoted to all aspects of creating, producing and promoting live entertainment including concerts, productions and special events; AEG Facilities, developers and operators of such venues as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center and The O2 arena; AEG Sports, owners of numerous sports franchises including the Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo of MLS and the Los Angeles Kings ; AEG Merchandising; AEG Marketing, AEG Global Partnerships, a sponsorship, sales and consulting company; AEG Real Estate and AEG Creative.
Leiweke guided the creation of The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, which opened in 2003 as an official U.S. Soccer Federation and U.S. Olympic training site. Home to Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer, The Home Depot Center also hosted the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final and 2003 MLS All-Star Game, along with the MLS Cup in 2003, 2004 and 2008. The 27,000-seat soccer stadium highlights the 85-acre development that also includes a 13,000-seat stadium for tennis, a 20,000-seat facility for track & field and a 2,400-seat indoor velodrome.
“Having worked in soccer for much of my professional life, I am privileged to join the quest to bring the sport’s ultimate event – the FIFA World Cup – back to the United States.” said Leiweke. “The growth of the passion for the sport in our country has undoubtedly resulted in the growth of its economy and yet, the opportunity to reach its full maturity is still in front of us. Another World Cup in the USA would help turn the estimated 90 million fans of the sport in our country into a strong global market force.”
A native of St. Louis, Leiweke began his career in sports administration in soccer in 1979 as the assistant general manager for the Major Indoor Soccer League’s St. Louis Steamers. A year later he became the youngest (24) general manager in pro sports when he joined the MISL’s Baltimore Blast. Named Vice President and General Manager of the Kansas City Comets 1981-82, he was elevated to President in 1986.
Leiweke moved on to the National Basketball Association in 1988 as the first employee of the Minnesota Timberwolves, spending four seasons as Vice President before moving on to the Denver Nuggets in 1991. During his time in Denver, Leiweke played a role in the relocation of the National Hockey League’s Quebec Nordiques to Denver as the Colorado Avalanche and also guided the initial development and design of a new home for both teams, the Pepsi Center. Before moving to Los Angeles to join the Kings, he served one year as the president and CEO for U.S. Skiing.
In addition to the Los Angeles Kings and Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, other professional sports franchises controlled by AEG are the Houston Dynamo (MLS), the Manchester Monarchs (AHL), the Reading Royals (ECHL), and two professional ice hockey teams in Europe – the Berlin Eisbarons and Hamburg Freesers. AEG also directs the operations of events such as the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race and ING Bay to Breakers foot race (San Francisco). Leiweke also serves on the Los Angeles Lakers Board of Directors representing Philip Anschutz’s 30 percent ownership stake in the Lakers organization.
The United States, Australia, England, Japan and Russia have formally declared their desire to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only to the tournament in 2022. Indonesia withdrew its bid in March 2010, while Mexico withdrew its bid in September 2009. Following the Mexico announcement, CONCACAF issued a public endorsement for the United States bid in November that pledged the full support of soccer’s governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean.
All candidates must have their bid applications to FIFA by May 14, 2010. FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments on December 2, 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.
Leiweke joins the Board of Directors of the USA Bid Committee that recently welcomed former world champion boxer Oscar De La Hoya, Academy Award-nominated director Spike Lee, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ESPN Executive Vice President for Content John Skipper, Washington Post CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth, Walt Disney Company President and CEO Robert Iger, comedian and Seattle Sounders FC part-owner Drew Carey, MLS founding investor Philip Anschutz, Univision CEO Joe Uva, New England Revolution and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, U.S. Soccer Foundation President Ed Foster-Simeon, University of Miami President Donna Shalala, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. National Team icons Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.
The USA Bid Committee’s efforts have earned the enthusiastic support of President Barack Obama, who in April of 2009 reached out to FIFA – the world's governing body of soccer – to endorse the goal of bringing the world’s largest sporting event back to the United States. In a letter to FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, President Obama noted the role soccer played in his life as a youth, and its ability to unite people, communities and nations from every continent.
On Monday, July 27, Obama and Blatter met at the White House to discuss the U.S. bid and other soccer-related topics. The meeting was marked by Blatter confirming his invitation for President Obama to be his guest at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. President Obama has expressed his interest in attending the event pending availability on his schedule.
In October, the USA Bid Committee released a study conducted by an independent consulting firm that estimates a conservative domestic economic impact of five billion dollars if the United States is chosen to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. The findings of the study indicate that the total economic impact projected for any one host city ranges from approximately $400 million to $600 million at today’s dollar value.
ABOUT U.S. SOCCER:
Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer has helped chart the course for soccer in the USA for more than 95 years as the governing body of the sport. In this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been simple and clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport’s growth in the past two decades has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer’s National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage while also growing the game here in the United States with the support of its members. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.
ABOUT THE USA BID COMMITTEE INC.:
The USA Bid Committee is a non-profit organization created to prepare a successful application to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022 on behalf of the United States Soccer Federation. The Bid Committee will submit its comprehensive bid to FIFA by May 2010, with FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee making a decision in December 2010. Members of the USA Bid Committee in alphabetical order include Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy owner Philip Anschutz, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, comedian and Seattle Sounders FC part-owner Drew Carey, former Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman (Asia) Carlos Cordeiro, former world champion boxer Oscar De La Hoya, U.S. Men’s National Team player Landon Donovan, Executive Director David Downs, U.S. Soccer CEO and General Secretary Dan Flynn, U.S. Soccer Foundation President Ed Foster-Simeon, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, U.S. Soccer President and USA Bid Committee Chairman Sunil Gulati, U.S. Women’s National Team former player Mia Hamm, Walt Disney Company President and CEO Robert Iger, former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, New England Revolution and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Academy Award-nominated director Spike Lee, AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, University of Miami President Donna Shalala, ESPN Executive Vice President for Content John Skipper, Univision CEO Joe Uva and Washington Post CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth. For more information, visit goUSAbid.com.