TSX REPORT: Queensland says no new stadium, only upgrades; Malaysia and Singapore eye 2026 Commonwealths; USA Fencing’s 2024 Fan Box!

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1. Queensland government rejects new stadium for Brisbane 2032
2. Malaysia and Singapore in the mix for 2026 Commonwealth Games
3. FIFA’s 2023 Annual Report shows revenues 145% of budget
4. Concern over Canadian costs for 2026 FIFA World Cup
5. USA Fencing introduces “Fan Box” for Paris!

● In response to the venue review it commissioned, the Queensland government in Australia rejected the idea of a new, A$3.4 billion stadium and will upgrade two older facilities for the 2032 Games. The new Brisbane Arena is to be built, but two others will not and be replaced with different facilities.

● More chatter on the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with both Malaysia and Singapore now considering hosting, or possibly even working together!

● FIFA’s Annual Report for 2023 showed a 45% increase in revenue over projections due to the success of the Women’s World Cup. The financial report indicated that FIFA’s $11 billion revenue goal for 2023-26 is well within reach.

● In Toronto, costs for the 2026 FIFA World Cup have jumped to C$380 million after originally being estimated at C$30-45 million! In Vancouver, no updated estimates have been made since 2022 and politicians are demanding more transparency.

● USA Fencing created a unique gift for its members and friends: a Paris 2024 Fan Box! It has special souvenirs for cheering on the U.S. team, to be shipped out in July, in plenty of time for the Paris opening!

Panorama: FISU (Remund to become Secretary General) = Shooting (Rhode misses seventh Olympic team) = Swimming (U.S. Olympic Trials medals revealed) = Tennis (prior champs add wins at Indian Wells) ●

Queensland government rejects new stadium for Brisbane 2032

“The Miles Government will accept almost all the recommendations made as part of the Review into Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games venue infrastructure.”

Wasting absolutely no time, the Queensland government issued a very detailed, same-day reply to the independent Sport Venue Review report issued Monday, that suggested building a new, 55.000-seat stadium in Brisbane in Victoria Park for an estimated A$3.0-3.4 billion (A$1 = $0.66 U.S.).

Dead on arrival.

The government’s bottom line was this:

“The findings have identified new opportunities to deliver value-for-money for Queenslanders, while supporting the government’s legacy vision. At its core, the government’s response prioritises community benefit while ensuring costs remain within the agreed funding envelope of (A)$7.1 billion to be shared between the State and Commonwealth governments.”

The government’s positions include:

“● Go ahead for new Brisbane Arena in a different location at Roma St precinct.

“● Upgrades planned for the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre (QSAC) and Suncorp Stadium, subject to due diligence and consultation with games partners.

“● Exploring legacy transport opportunities to link QSAC, QEII hospital, and Griffith University with connected precincts in the city.

“● Proposed new stadium for Victoria Park ruled out.

“● Gabba rebuild will not proceed.”

It had been widely expected that the rebuilding of the Brisbane Cricket Ground (the “Gabba”) would not proceed, after political support for the project – championed by former Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, in office when Brisbane won the hosting rights for 2032 – collapsed over the projected A$2.7 billion cost.

The surprise of the independent report, headed by former Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk, was the idea that an even more expensive stadium should be built from the ground up. Instead, the reply from Miles and Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Industrial Relations and Racing, Grace Grace, preferred upgrades to existing sites.

The Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre opened in 1975, has a full-scale track and seats 48,500. The government’s idea is to “investigate upgrades to this highly utilised community and high-performance venue for Games and legacy use.” Clearly, the track & field competitions could be held in a refurbished facility.

Suncorp Stadium, primarily a rugby and soccer stadium, originated as Lang Park in 1914, was redeveloped from 2001-03 and now seats 52,500 and was the site for eight matches of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, including the third-place match. This facility could be the site for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as football and rugby sevens matches.

As for the Victoria Park idea:

“The Government does not believe it would be possible to deliver any new stadium at Victoria Park within the existing agreed funding, and the IOC has noted that a new stadium for the Olympic and Paralympic Games sits outside the ‘new norm’ of using existing or already planned venues.”

Maintenance work on the Gabba would continue and it stands to be used for cricket (if included) and other sports for 2032, and the new Brisbane Arena was endorsed by the government as “a much-needed piece of community infrastructure which will have multiple legacy uses for decades to come.”

Two other facilities were also scratched:

“The Breakfast Creek Indoor Sports Precinct at Albion will not proceed with the panel recommending an indoor sports centre be located in Zillmere or Boondall instead. The proposed upgrades to the Toowoomba Sports Ground will not proceed, but opportunities to host other Games events in the region will be explored.”

The Breakfast Creek facility was slated to host basketball; the Toowoomba Sports Ground is a 9,000-seat rugby and soccer facility west of Brisbane.

Andrew Liveris, the President of the Brisbane 2032 organizing committee, maintained its position: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games must fit the region, not the region fit the Games, and we will use the venues and infrastructure made available to us.”

Observed: This is a victory for the International Olympic Committee and for Brisbane 2032. The use of existing sites, as much as possible, ensures less stress, less public angst over costs and a better run-up to the Games for everyone, and maintains the IOC’s stance that as little should be built as possible.

Malaysia and Singapore in the mix for 2026 Commonwealth Games

Interest in the 2026 Commonwealth Games, abandoned last year by the Australian state of Victoria, has picked up with Singapore also exploring interest in the event, along with Malaysia.

The discussions in Malaysia continue, with Olympic Council of Malaysia Secretary General Mohamad Nazifuddin Najib explaining a “downsized” Games could be an appropriate approach:

“For example, it doesn’t have to include 15 sports. It could be 10 sports, resulting in a smaller opening and closing ceremony.

“So, all of that can be discussed, but we’ll let the decision come from the cabinet.”

The Malaysian government, led by Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, is examining both the costs and logistics:

“The most important thing is that when the decision is made, we assure you it will be after taking into consideration all the possible angles.”

Singapore has popped into the picture, with Commonwealth Games Singapore and Sport Singapore issuing a statement last week that it was “assessing the feasibility of the invite.”

Malaysia hosted the 1998 Commonwealth Games and Singapore hosted the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and will host the 2025 World Aquatics Championships and 2019 Southeast Asian Games. The Commonwealth Games Federation has offered £100 million as a subsidy (about $127.3 million U.S.), from the A$380 million (~$249.2 million U.S.) paid by Victoria to get out of hosting for 2026.

Malaysia’s Nazifuddein added, “There is a possibility that we can collaborate with Singapore, but there is also a possibility that Singapore can decide to take over as the organizer and we miss this opportunity.”

The Commonwealth Games Federation’s 2021 strategic roadmap presentation indicated that only athletics and swimming are required sports and that “approximately 15 sports” need to be staged, although that number was flexible.

There were only 10 sports in the Commonwealth Games as late as 1994, but it jumped to 15 in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and reached 20 for the first time in Birmingham (ENG) in 2022. But at this point, a 10 or 12-sport program would probably be embraced for 2026 or 2027.

FIFA’s 2023 Annual Report shows revenues 145% of budget

On the strength of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIFA reported sensational financial results for last year, with revenues a startling 45% above its budget:

● $267.22 million from television rights
● $455.92 million from sponsorships
● $181.18 million from licensing rights
● $80.16 million from hospitality and ticket sales
● $126.81 million from the FIFA Club World Cup and others
● $58.37 million from hosting fees from Australia and New Zealand

The total was $1.170 billion U.S., far above projections and the report noted:

“[Revenues in the first year of the 2023-26 quad] exceeded the budget by a significant 45% (USD 363 million) and was 53% higher (USD 404 million) than in 2019, the equivalent year of the previous cycle. FIFA is well on track to reach its budgeted total revenue of USD 11,000 million for the 2023-2026 cycle.”

Even so, FIFA showed a loss in 2023. How? By spending $1.748 billion on events and development:

● $746.62 million on competitions
● $681.62 million on development and education
● $58.05 million on governance
● $204.04 million on FIFA administration
● $57.92 million on marketing and broadcasting

The 2023 Women’s World Cup accounted for $499 million in spending, including $110 million in team funding, another $31 million paid to federations for preparation and $11 million paid to clubs. These are far below the amounts for the men’s World Cup, but records for the Women’s World Cup.

The FIFA Forward 3.0 Programme paid member federations $470 million, with all federations to receive $8 million over the four-year period. Most of the remaining spending on development included “digital development services, technical development programmes, women’s football promotion, refereeing and other programmes, and amounted to USD 212 million.”

Total spending was just $22 million over the budget forecast of $1.726 million,

FIFA’s assets shrunk as expected in a non-men’s World Cup year, from $6.796 billion to $5.490 billion, with reserves of $3.565 billion. It is by far the richest international federation.

The look-ahead budget for 2025 is deeply understated since it does not include the dramatically-expanded Club World Cup, to be held in the U.S. in June and July and with 32 teams, is expected to be a financial bonanza for FIFA.

The 2025 projection shown is for $436 million in revenue and $1.432 billion in spending, but the Club World Cup will change that.

Given its wealth, FIFA can pay its officers and staff handsomely and it does. FIFA chief Gianni Infantino (SUI) received CHF 4.14 million in 2023 and now-retired Secretary General Fatma Samoura (SEN) received CHF 1.92 million. Both amounts are set by a FIFA Compensation Sub-Committee. (CHF 1 = $1.13 U.S.)

FIFA Council members who are confederation heads receive $300,000 U.S. per year and Council members who are not confederation presidents receive $250,000 U.S. Some members of various committees and sub-committees receive compensation in varying amounts.

Concern over Canadian costs for 2026 FIFA World Cup

Canada will host 13 matches during the 2026 FIFA World Cup, but disclosures from Toronto last week indicate that the costs have risen sharply. A CBC report noted:

“In 2018, council was told the price to host the games would be between $30 million to $45 million. In 2023, the price was estimated at $300 million. It now sits at $380 million.” (C$1 = $0.74 U.S.)

A late February report by the Toronto city staff estimated the public costs “will run about [C]$380 million, linking the cost increase to Toronto being awarded a sixth match, instead of the five initially predicted — as well as an evaluation of vendor quotes, safety and security requirements and ‘inflationary uncertainty.’”

Toronto Mayor Anne Chow told the CBC:

“Will I want to see $380 million being spent on it? No. Would I have signed the deal had… none of the provincial and the federal government contributions been locked down? No.”

The Province of Ontario has committed to contribute C$97 million, and the federal government is expected to contribute about 35% of the total, but that has not been formally agreed.

The Toronto staff report quantified the financial benefits of five 2026 matches – it has six now – as (Canadian dollars):

● $392 million GDP for the City of Toronto and tax revenues totaling $118.9 million in the Toronto region.

● $456 million GDP for the province of Ontario, and tax revenues totaling $138.9 million within Ontario.

Vancouver’s B.C. Place will host seven matches, two more than originally anticipated, as the tournament expanded from 64 matches to 104, and the British Columbia government said in 2022 that it expected to spend from C$240-260 million on its hosting responsibilities.

B.C. Tourism and Sports Minister Lana Popham said last week, “We are on a different timeline than Toronto,” and said that costs have risen. Security costs for the additional matches, and work within the stadium, on elevators, electrical systems and transit corridors, are all part of the increase.

Kevin Falcon, the Opposition leader in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, told Global News:

“All we know is that they’ve got a ballpark estimate of $250 million for hosting FIFA. I am here to tell you right now it will be well over double that, it could even been worse, but the problem is they aren’t telling us.”

USA Fencing introduces “Fan Box” for Paris!

If you’re already thinking about how you’re going to cheer on the U.S. team in Paris – whether on-site or in front of a television screen – USA Fencing is ready to help you now with its first-time offer of a Paris 2024 Fan Box!

USA Fencing’s Brad Suchorski, the Director of Membership, Service and Growth, came up with the project and explained:

“We wanted to give our community the opportunity to enjoy the Paris Games in unique and a tangible way.

“For a special price of $29.99, this exclusive Fan Box is packed with treasures that celebrate our journey to Paris, including:

“● A collectible ticket to mark the occasion
“● A limited-edition poster featuring stunning fencing artwork
“● An exclusive Paris 2024 pin to add to your collection
“● A mini American flag to wave proudly as you cheer on Team USA”

The items are not available outside of the Fan Box, which is on sale now; the $29.99 price includes shipping, but not applicable taxes. Orders of 10 or more can receive a customized quote. All orders will be shipped on 1 July, well ahead of the 26 July opening in Paris.

Great idea; how many other National Governing Bodies are going to get on this bandwagon?


● University Sports ● The International University Sports Federation (FISU) announced that Matthias Remund (SUI) will replace long-serving Secretary General Eric Saintrond (BEL), who will retire at the end of the year.

Remund, 60, is the Director of Switzerland’s Federal Office of Sport, and will be assisted by two new Deputy Secretary Generals in Paulo Ferreira (POR) and Fernando Parente (POR).

Ferreira, currently the FISU Director General, and Parente, currently FISU’s Director of Development, will take their new positions on July 2024. Saintrond joined FISU in 1985 and became Secretary General in 2007 and has seen substantial growth in the organization.

● Shooting ● “I knew that, because of the way the qualification system has worked out, it was a long shot for me to qualify for the Paris Olympics coming into this match.

“I did win the match in Tucson but that wasn’t enough for me to qualify.

“So at the end of the day it is what it is, but I am definitely looking forward to LA2028. I will still be in Paris and will be cheering Team USA on all the way.

“I think we have one of the strongest teams in depth and it is very exciting for all those involved.”

That’s Olympic legend Kim Rhode, now 44, explaining that she missed a seventh Olympic berth with the U.S. team after a very disappointing first stage of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Shotgun Trials.

Rhode won medals in 1996-2000-2004 in Double Trap and then in 2008-12-16 in Skeet, but finished fourth at the trials for the Tokyo 2020 Games. She was eighth after the first stage of the 2024 trials and moved up to sixth overall, but only the first two will go to Paris.

The difficulty of the U.S. Trials was underscored by the fact that Tokyo 2020 women’s Skeet gold medalist Amber English finished fifth at the 2024 Trials and won’t go to Paris either. Tokyo men’s Skeet winner Vincent Hancock did win the U.S. Trials and will try for a fourth Olympic gold in Paris.

● Swimming ● USA Swimming posted a photo Saturday of the medal designs for June’s 2024 Olympic Trials on X (ex-Twitter) and Instagram.

The design is unusual: half-solid and half-clear (like water), but with sculpted lines that mimic the shape of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

● Tennis ● The highly-followed BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, concluded on Sunday, the 50th edition for men and 35th edition for women.

The much-reported Singles finals had Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz winning again in a 2023 finals rematch over Russian Daniil Medvedev, 7–6 (7–5), 6–1, and no. 1-ranked Iga Swiatek (POL) winning her second title in a rematch of the 2022 final against Greece’s Maria Sakkari, 6–4, 6–0.

Less reported were the Doubles. In the men’s final, Wesley Koolhof (NED) and Nikola Mektic (CRO) won in straight sets against Marcel Granollers (ESP) and Horacio Zeballos (ARG), 7–6 (7–2), 7–6 (7–4); Meretic won his second Indian Wells title (with a different partner in 2019).

The women’s title went to Su-wei Hsieh (TPE) and Elise Mertens (BEL) – as it did in 2021 – over Australia Storm Hunter (AUS) and Katerina Siniakova (CZE), 6–3, 6–4. For Hsieh, this was her fourth win and the third for Mertens, but their second together.

In first-ever Mixed Doubles at Indian Wells, Australians Storm Hunter and Matthew Ebden swept France’s Caroline Garcia and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6–3, 6–3.

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