TSX REPORT: U.S., Mexico exit 2027 Women’s World Cup bidding; Bach says Olympics future never brighter; FIS approves key rights centralization initiative

The FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy (Photo: FIFA)

The Sports Examiner: Chronicling the key competitive, economic and political forces shaping elite sport and the Olympic Movement.★

To get The Sports Examiner by e-mail: sign up here!


1. U.S. and Mexico withdraw FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027 bid
2. Bach: future of the Olympic Games is very secure
3. Lyles runs 9.96 at windy Bermuda Grand Prix
4. FIS approves centralization of media rights
5. Big April in the pool: 15 world leads in Olympic events

● U.S. Soccer and the Mexican Soccer Federation (FMF) announced they are ending their bid for the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup and concentrating instead on 2031. Their proposal had promised a sensational $3 billion in revenue last December, but there was very little follow-up.

● International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach (GER) said in an interview that the future of the Olympic Games has never been better, with awards in place through 2032 and a plethora of interested bidders for 2036 and beyond. He does not see, however, e-sports events in the Games.

● World men’s 100 m champ Noah Lyles won the 100 at the wind-blown USATF Bermuda Grand Prix on Sunday in 9.96, with all of the races wind-aided, or hindered by the wind if beyond 200 m.

● The Council of the International Ski & Snowboard Federation (FIS) approved the centralization of all media rights for all of skiing to be concentrated within the FIS and marketed by the Infront Sports & Media agency. The centralization initiative is the key effort by FIS chief Johan Eliasch to jump the money involved in the sport.

● A big April for swimming, with plenty of national championships and new, world-leading marks in 15 of the 28 individual events on the Olympic program, despite having a World Championships in February of 2024!

Panorama: Russia (FIBA and BWF extend Russian federation suspensions) = Canoe-Kayak (2: Brazil best in Pan Am Sprint qualifiers; Eichfeld and Leibfarth advance in Slalom trials) = Flag Football (NFL Academy opening in Australia) = Judo (Jayne overcomes doubts to earn Pan Am silver at 90 kg) = Sailing (France, Germany and Britain all qualify full teams for Paris) = Water Polo (U.S. women finish 6-0 vs. Australia, China) ●

U.S. and Mexico withdraw FIFA Women’s World Cup 2027 bid

FIFA announced Monday that the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be awarded on 17 May. A few hours later, the joint U.S.-Mexico bid for the tournament was withdrawn:

“U.S. Soccer and Mexican Football Federation have withdrawn their joint bid to host the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and will instead focus on bidding to host the tournament in 2031.

“In a historic first, the bid will call for equal investment as the Men’s tournament, eliminating investment disparities to fully maximize the commercial potential of the women’s tournament. 

“The revised bid will allow U.S. Soccer to build on the learnings and success of the 2026 World Cup, better support our host cities, expand our partnerships and media deals, and further engage with our fans so we can host a record-breaking tournament in 2031.”

The U.S.-Mexico bid proposal made headlines last December, projecting a staggering $3 billion in total revenue:

“$3 billion is on the table in this U.S. and Mexico-hosted Competition, with the opportunity to make this the largest, most commercially successful women’s sporting event the world has ever known. We have the ability to dramatically raise the stakes for women’s football and benefit Member Associations and the sport not just in North America but around the globe for years to come.”

But the follow-up was characterized as “half-hearted,” with a preference to see the outcome of the 2026 World Cup (in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.) before charging ahead. 

The remaining proposals are from Brazil, and a joint European proposal for Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, which forecast revenues of $885 million or more, compared to the $570 million generated by the highly successful 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The nine prior Women’s World Cups have been in Europe three times, North America three times (U.S. 2, Canada 1), China twice and in Australia and New Zealand in 2023. With a reputation for solid organization, and with Germany hosting the 2024 UEFA European Championship, the combined European bid looks strongest on the way to 17 May.

However, between now and then, a FIFA Evaluation Report will be released, which will be a significant step in the Congress vote.

Bach: future of the Olympic Games is very secure

“We have never been in such a favorable position. We have never seen such a high interest in hosting the Olympic Games.”

That’s International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach (GER), commenting to Agence France Presse last week, on the sunny outlook for the future of the Olympic Games.

Since becoming the IOC President in 2013, Bach has navigated a sea change in the way that the IOC handles the selection of Olympic hosts. He got rid of the formalized process of direct elections, which required bidding cities to spend millions chasing IOC members and possible influencers around the globe, with only the winner getting any return at all. He had the rules changed to encourage the use of existing and temporary facilities and allowed events to be spread across multiple cities, regions and even countries, saving billions in new construction and (mostly) eliminating useless facilities that would end up being abandoned in the future.

After a series of collapsed bids due to public pressure on costs for the 2024 Games, Bach led the IOC into awarding two Games at the same time – something it hadn’t done in a century – to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

Now, with the costs reduced for both bidding and staging, countries have lined up for informal discussions with the IOC about future Games in 2036 and beyond. Inquiries from countries such as Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey and others have all started. Asked about the status, Bach demurred:

“We are now 12 years away from these Games, so it is way too early to comment on any of these interests.”

Bach has also led the IOC into a determined dialogue with the e-sports community and announced in 2023 a move to create – in 2025 or 2026 – an “Olympic Esports Games,” focusing mostly on digital versions of existing physical sports. And e-sports events in the Olympics?

“I don’t think that you will see e-sports events at the Olympic Games, but you may see very soon its own Olympic e-sports Games.”

As for the Winter Games, awards to the French Alps for 2030 and Salt Lake City for 2034 appear set for this summer, and a preferred location for 2038 – Switzerland – has already been announced. Interest is being shown in potential 2042 candidatures.

Bach also told AFP that he is happy with the security measures being undertaken by the French authorities for the opening ceremony on the Seine River:

“The very meticulous, very professional approach gives us all the confidence that we can have this opening ceremony on the river Seine and that this opening ceremony will be iconic, will be unforgettable for the athletes, and everybody will be safe and secure.”

Lyles runs 9.96 at windy Bermuda Grand Prix

The wind was the winner at the USATF Bermuda Grand Prix on Sunday, with strong marks in the sprints all over the 2.0 m/s limit, starting with a 9.96 win in the men’s 100 m for World Champion Noah Lyles.

He won easily, with an over-the-allowable wind of 3.0 m/s, well ahead of Canada’s Aaron Brown (10.09) and fellow American Pjai Austin (10.10). Trinidad & Tobago star Jereem Richards, the 2022 World Indoor 400 m champ, won the 200 m in 20.39w (+4.9). Matthew Boling of the U.S. was second at 20.42.

How rough was the wind? Grenada’s Kirani James, the 2012 Olympic champ, who ran 44.30 last year, won the 400 m in 46.00, ahead of Alonzo Russell (BAH: 47.05). Britain’s Joshua Zeller won the 110 m hurdles at 13.38w (+3.5 m/s), beating Louis Rollins (USA: 13.45w).

Jamaican star Jaydon Hibbert, the 2023 NCAA champ for Arkansas, won the triple jump with a big, wind-aided jump of 17.33 m (56-10 1/4 at +4.3 m/s). Bermuda’s Jah-nhai Perinchief was second at 17.13 mw (56-2 1/2 at +4.5 m/s).

The women’s races were similar, with Worlds 100 m finalist Tamari Davis of the U.S. winning in 11.04w (+2.2 m/s), ahead of Kortnei Johnson (USA: 11.27), and 2022 NCAA 200 m champ Abby Steiner winning in 22.71 (+3.0 m/s) in the 200 m.

Jamaican Stacey-Ann Williams ran away with the 400 m in 51.71 (she won by almost 1.3 seconds), and Amber Hughes took the 100 m hurdles in 12.57w (+3.4 m/s), well ahead of Ebony Morrison (LIB: 12.80w). Shiann Salmon (JAM) won the 400 m hurdles in 56.59, with 2015 Worlds bronze winner Cassandra Tate of the U.S. second in 57.04, again slowed by the wind.

The only women’s field event was the long jump, with Monae Nichols of the U.S. winning at 6.91 mw (22-8: +4.0), and Chanice Porter of Jamaica second at 6.62 mw (21-8 3.4: +3.9).

Someone else to consider in the men’s 100 m? Brandon Hicklin, whose prior best was 10.06, won the invitational section of Saturday’s LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge in 9.94 (+1.7), to move to equal-second on the 2024 world list.

Also, at the Corky-Crofoot Shootout in Lubbock, Texas, Zimbabwe’s Tapiwanashe Makarawu won the men’s 200 m in a lifetime best (and national record) of 19.93 (+1.6), now no. 4 on the world list.

At the East Coast Relays in Jacksonville, Florida, the Tokyo Olympic 200 m winner Andre De Grasse (CAN) won the 100 m from Tokyo Olympic 100 m champ Lamont Jacobs (ITA), with both timed at 10.11 (+0.9) and American star Trayvon Bromell third in 10.14.

In the middle distances, Cooper Teare of the U.S. moved to no. 2 on the outdoor world list with a 3:32.16 win at the Virginia Hi-Performance meet on Sunday, and 2024 World Indoor 3,000 m silver winner Yared Nuguse had the best finish to win a fast Penn Relays mile in 3:51.06, fastest in the world outdoor this season. He beat Olli Hoare (AUS: 3:51.28) and Eric Holt of the U.S. (3:51.46).

More on the indoor shot at the Drake Relays, won by Payton Otterdahl of the U.S. at 22.59 m (74-1 1/2) at the Drake Fieldhouse last Wednesday, moving him to no. 5 all-time U.S. (indoors and out) and no. 3 all-time indoors, behind only fellow Americans Ryan Crouser and Randy Barnes. In fact, it’s the longest throw by an American who is not Crouser or Joe Kovacs since Kevin Toth in 2003!

FIS approves centralization of media rights

A central focus of Johan Eliasch, the Swedish President of the International Ski & Snowboard Federation, has been the centralization of all of the disparate media rights to the federation’s various events and races within the FIS itself, so that they can be sold only by the FIS.

He believes that’s the best way to unlock more value from the competitions in Alpine, Nordic, Freestyle and Snowboard, but that has required agreements – especially in Alpine – with the national federations and other operators who have controlled those rights in the past.

But after a July 2023 agreement with Infront Sports & Media which has been doing most of the federation sales, the way was open for FIS to agree to adopt the centralized sales program. That was accomplished on Friday:

“[T]he FIS Council voted in favour of the centralisation of media and broadcast rights and paved the way for FIS to sign an exclusive agency agreement with Infront.

“The agreement includes the distribution of the international media rights to FIS World Cup events for all platforms until and including 2033/34.This decision by the FIS Council follows months of intensive exchange with all FIS World Cup federations, in which FIS addressed open questions.

“The vote by the FIS Council enables FIS to move forward with the centralisation for the benefit of the sport and the athletes and to secure the future of snow sports.”

Said Eliasch, the agreement “offers the opportunity to elevate our sport to new heights, to showcase the incredible talent and dedication of our athletes on a global stage and to establish a long-term calendar that provides stability for our World Cup hosts.”

The Infront deal was huge, including terms to start with the 2026-27 season (€1 = $1.07 U.S.):

● “Minimum compensation more than €100 million above current terms

● “Commission-based agency agreement with a minimum sales guarantee of more than €600 million

● “FIS in full control over the sales process

● “Infront to provide exclusive marketing implementation and international media operations services”

The deal also provides FIS with full access and rights to highlights and streaming for markets for which rights are not sold.

Reaction to the Council action was hardly popular among some ski associations, but the deal is moving forward. Time will tell if Eliasch is right.

Big April in the pool: 15 world leads in Olympic events

April was a big month for swimming with national championships in China, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, South Africa and Switzerland (and Russia), and the Australian Open Championships ahead of its Olympic Trials in June.

What happened? Although there was a World Aquatics Championships in Doha (QAT) in February, the world-leading marks in 15 of the 28 individual pool-swimming events on the Paris 2024 schedule were made in April, ahead of more major meets in June, especially the U.S. Olympic Trials, on the road to Paris in July.

The new world-leading swims as of the end of April:

Men/200 m Free: 1:44.14, Lukas Martens (GER)
Men/400 m Free: 3:40.43, Martens (GER)
Men/100 m Back: 52.34, Miron Lifincev (RUS)
Men/100 m Breast: 57.94, Adam Peaty (GBR)
Men/100 m Fly: 50.16, Noe Ponti (SUI)
Men/200 m Medley: 1:55.35, Shun Wang (CHN)
Men/400 m Medley: 4:09.14, Max Litchfield (GBR)

Women/200 m Free: 1:53.57, Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS)
Women/400 m Free: 3:59.13, Ariarne Titmus (AUS)
Women/200 m Back: 2:03.84, Kaylee McKeown (AUS)
Women/100 m Breast: 1:04.39, Qianting Tang (CHN)
Women/200 m Breast: 2:19.01, Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA)
Women/100 m Fly: 55.68, Torri Huske (USA)
Women/200 m Medley: 2:06.99, McKeown (AUS)
Women/400 m Medley: 4:28.22, McKeown (AUS)

That’s seven for the men and eighth for the women, with five women’s leads for Australia, three of those from Tokyo 100-200 m Back gold medalist McKeown. China, Germany and Great Britain each had two, and the U.S. had one – for Torri Huske – despite everyone pointing to the Olympic Trials in Indianapolis that begin on 15 June.


● Russia ● The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) extended its suspensions of Russia and Belarus, with the report of last Friday’s meeting noting:

“The Central Board has extended the current status of the two National Federations of Russia and Belarus until the next Central Board meeting in December 2024.”

The Badminton World Federation has also continued its suspension of the Russian federation at its annual general meeting in Chengdu (CHN) by 151-78, “until further notice.” The BWF has agreed to allow Russian and Belarusian athlete to compete as “neutrals” under specific conditions.

● Canoe-Kayak ● Paris 2024 places in eight events were up for grabs at the Pan American Olympic Sprint Qualifier in Sarasota, Florida, with Brazil capturing three wins and six overall quota spots.

Brazil won the men’s C-2 500 m with Jacky Godmann and Filipe Vieiera (1:46.458), the women’s C-1 200 m by Valdenice do Nascimento (47.739) and the women’s C-2 500 m via Barbara Jara and Karen Roco (2:07.282).

The U.S. obtained one spot in the men’s K-2 500 m from Jonas Ecker and Aaron Small (1:31.750), while four other nations claimed one each.

Cuba’s Jose Pelier won the men’s C-1 1,000 m in 3:51.033; Matias Otero (URU) took the men’s K-1 1,000 m in 3:31.203; Brenda Rojas of Argentina won the women’s K-1 500 m, and Mexico’s Karina Alanis and Beatriz Briones triumphed in the women’s K-2 500 m in 1:48.620.

In the U.S. Olympic Trials for Canoe-Slalom in Oklahoma City that was cut short by rainy conditions on the Riversport OKC course, Casey Eichfeld and Evy Leibfarth will return to represent the U.S. once again.

Eichfeld, 34, made his fourth Olympic team – previously in 2008-12-16 – in the Canoe Slalom, winning all four of his races over two days, each time ahead of Zachary Lokken, a Tokyo Olympian for the U.S.

Leibfarth, 20, returns for her second straight Games, in the Canoe Slalom, Kayak Slalom and likely in the new Kayak Cross. In the Canoe Slalom heats, she finished 2-1-3-1, then won all four heats in the Kayak Slalom heats.

She also won the Kayak Cross Time Trial in 65.14, over Ria Sribar (68.21).

● Flag Football ● The National Football League, and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), are done celebrating the inclusion of flag in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games and are already thinking about how to get into the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane and Queensland in Australia:

● “The National Football League has announced it will open an NFL Academy in Australia in September 2024 to service the Asia-Pacific region, as the league continues to invest in long-term global football development efforts and pathways for international talent.”

● “The NFL and A.B. Paterson College, supported by the City of Gold Coast and the Queensland State Government, will also fund and build an elite high-performance NFL Academy facility on existing college grounds, to be completed in 2026, that will also be available for community use.”

● “The program will also be central to continuing to grow flag football in the region for men, women and young people following the sport’s successful inclusion at the LA28 Olympic Games. In partnership with the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), the league is investing in the development and growth of flag football at both grassroots and elite levels across Australia, New Zealand and around the world. Fast, highly accessible and inclusive, the non-contact format of the game is spearheading extraordinary growth in participation globally. Played by over 20 million people across 100 countries, women and girls are driving some of the fastest growth.”

This will be the second NFL Academy, after the initial site in Great Britain that opened in 2019.

● Judo ● Inspiring story by American judoka John Jayne in the men’s 90 kg class, who won the silver medal at last weekend’s Pan American Championships in Brazil, where he faced a major challenge in world no. 12 Rafael Macedo (BRA) in the semifinals:

“I didn’t think I could win and I went out there thinking ‘all right, we’re just going to go do some judo.’ Last year, I went out there trying to really give it to him, really fight. This year, I was like ‘That didn’t work last time. So this time we’re going to go out, try and do some judo, keep it calm.'”

He won by ippon and advanced to the final, where he was thrown by 2021 Pan Am champ Robert Florentino of the Dominican Republic, but it was still a considerable achievement:

“Beating the Brazilian today in the semifinal was probably the best win of my career so far. I waited, he made mistakes. I capitalized on those mistakes and I beat someone I didn’t think I could ever beat. I’m very happy with that. It gave me a pretty big confidence boost.

“Getting the silver, getting the 490 points is pretty big for me going towards the Olympics. I also feel a big confidence boost now, beating the Brazilian, having a good match in the final with the Dominican. I feel like, coming into those next competitions, I can really pull out some top eights if I fight like I fought today.”

● Sailing ● With the conclusion of the Last Chance Regatta in Hyeres (FRA) at the Semaine Olympique Francaise, World Sailing announced that three nations – France, Germany and Great Britain – have qualified entries in all 10 classes for Paris 2024.

Close behind with nine spots: China, Italy, Spain and the United States.

● Water Polo ● The U.S. women’s national team, three-time defending Olympic gold medal winners, completed a 6-0 run in recent exhibitions, defeating China – an Olympic qualifier – by 11-7 in Torrance, California, led by three goals from Maggie Steffens.

The American women completed a three-match sweep, having beaten China 17-7 in Long Beach on the 20th and 21-11 in Long Beach on the 22nd. Prior to that, the U.S. won three matches from Australia – fifth at Tokyo in 2021 – 10-4 on 7 April in Santa Barbara, 14-8 on 9 April in Long Beach and 14-6 on 13 April in Irvine.

You can receive our exclusive TSX Report by e-mail by clicking here. You can also refer a friend by clicking here, and can donate here to keep this site going.

For our new, 920-event International Sports Calendar for 2024 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!