More than 225 representatives from across the 32 candidate host cities descended on Houston, Texas November 14-17 for a Host City Information Session with the United Bid Committee. With only 17 weeks until the deadline for submitting the United Bid to FIFA, the meetings were not only necessary, they were vital to telling the story of the United Bid.
The Host City Information Session was the first time that all of the candidate host cities came together – UNITED, AS ONE. Delegations traveled from all corners of Canada, Mexico and the United States to attend - some from nearly 3,000 miles away. Three dozen United Bid Committee team members, including staff from the three potential host Member Associations and more than a dozen outside advisers, led the event, marking the first time that everyone was together in one place. These valuable meetings helped the United Bid Committee to deepen our partnership with the candidate host cities and focus our efforts on the preparation of a world class bid.
“We were able to hear how all of the candidate host cities are feeling about the bid process, address their questions and – most importantly – tap into their experience and enthusiasm for the United Bid to help develop new ideas that will enhance our strategy,” explained John Kristick, Executive Director of the United Bid Committee.
For more than 250 hours, candidate host cities discussed, planned and strategized, with everyone working towards the same goal: to present the most compelling, forward-looking submission to FIFA in March 2018. Each day began with a presentation by John Kristick, during which he delivered an overview of the bid process, vision and strategy. For the rest of each day, the candidate host cities attended one-on-one meetings with the Bid Committee team to discuss technical details for the delivery of the largest-ever FIFA World Cup with 48 teams related to stadiums, airports and other hosting requirements, as well as critical issues including sustainability, legacy and innovation.
“The team came away with a great deal of valuable information that will be used to enhance our bid strategy – and we were able to provide tools and guidance to the candidate host cities to assist them as well,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Bid Director and General Secretary, Canada Soccer. “This was very much a collaborative process between the candidate host cities and our team and provided all of us with the opportunity to explore how the federations, governments, and cities will contribute to the advancement of the game in our cities, countries and around the world.”
The United Bid Committee also used the event to unveil the bid committee’s new website, social media toolkit and other materials to help the candidate host cities build support at the local level.
Organizing this event required an enormous effort. “This gathering represented a major step forward in the development of our bid strategy and submission,” said Jim Brown, Managing Director of the United Bid. “In addition to forming even stronger connections with the representatives from the candidate host cities – relationships that will be key to everything going forward – having everyone come together in one place accelerated some important conversations about how we will coordinate in finalizing the bid submission plans over the coming months.”
Now the next phase of work begins, with the United Bid Committee team, and the candidate host cities, working together to prepare the most compelling, forward-looking bid submission to FIFA in March 2018. The team is focused on the task at hand, and as Yon De Luisa, Mexico Bid Director, noted, “Without a doubt, today we are much closer to achieving our goal and we are more “United as One” than ever.”