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Who is USA Bid’s Most Effective Spokesperson?

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and other board members of the USA Bid Committee to bring the FIFA World Cup to the U.S. in 2018 or 2022 meet in Johannesburg on June 24, 2010 with Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, host of this year's 2010 FIFA World Cup. With Former President Mandela, (L to R) Sunil Gulati, president of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and chairman of the USA Bid Committee; President Clinton, honorary chairman of the USA Bid Committee; Don Garber, commissioner of Major League Soccer; Carlos Cordeiro, vice chairman of the USA Bid Committee; and Dan Flynn, USSF CEO and secretary general.  UPI/Adam Jacobs Photo via Newscom

Less than 48 hours from now, we will know whether the U.S. bid for the 2022 World Cup was a success or a failure.  In Zurich the U.S. delegation is counting votes, firming up yeses and feeling out no votes.  One advantage the U.S. has is star power, something a country like Qatar has to import or hire.  It may be hard for a delegate to shake the hand of a famous movie star or politician and turn down the United States.

The official presentation on December 2 will be done by a four-man committee: US Bid chair Sunil Gulati, Landan Donovan, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, and actor Morgan Freeman.  That’s the official presentation; but who should the U.S. have in Zurich right now to lobby these delegates and secure votes?  Below are the people I think would be the U.S.’s most effective spokespeople and who should be in Zurich for the rest of the week.  Some of these are no-brainers and some are possibly unrealistic and outside-the-box.  But if I were U.S. Bid president, these people would be my first call:

Bill Clinton – The former president is a global icon.  Besides being personally popular with many world leaders, he is the head of a huge global foundation aimed at alleviating poverty and disease.  He’s smooth and an expert at wooing reticent votes, and signing him up for this bid was Gulati’s best decision.

Michael Jordan – Another global sports icon, Jordan is world renowned as being the best player in the world’s fastest growing game.  Jordan would show that the American sports scene is united behind the World Cup as well as the sports business community.  Plus he would be a different face before FIFA and could be a genuine ace-in-the-hole to impress delegates.

Barack Obama – I know, this backfired spectacularly when the U.S. was bidding for the Olympics.  However, there is one major difference between the World Cup and Chicago Olympics.  A medium risk in the U.S. bid analysis was government support, and what better way to show that the U.S. government will give full support and resources to the World Cup than the face of the government, who by the way is popular internationally.  Although he will not be president in 2022, he can guarantee the delegates that his administration will begin preparing for the World Cup now and build it into any deficit plan his administration may pursue.

Steve Jobs – Europe has a bad history with Microsoft, ruling out Bill Gates, and is now bringing suit against Google as a monopoly.  But Steve Jobs’ Apple is universally admired, and his iPod and its technological brethren are universally used.  He could share information about American technological prowess and counteract Japan’s best claim to the Cup, that it will have a truly unique and technologically advanced World Cup.

Brad Pitt – There may be more popular actors worldwide, and maybe more beautiful people, but few possess the charm and positive ratings that the actor has.  In a delegation full of political and sports stars, Pitt would add a little Hollywood glitz and glamor to the lobbying effort, and convey how the media and popular culture can help build support for soccer in America.

Landon Donovan – The delegation has to have a soccer player, and who is more associated with U.S. soccer than Donovan.

Who do you think would be the most effective spokesperson for the U.S. bid in Zurich?

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  1. Sancho

    December 2, 2010 at 6:27 am

    The best one yesterday was Gulati. By far…

  2. James

    December 1, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    What is really too bad is we will likely finish behind Australia and Qatar.

  3. Dan

    December 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    To bad we cant get Optimus Prime. Damn Reality.

    • Robert Hay

      December 2, 2010 at 8:04 am

      Would Qatar have responded by getting Megatron?

  4. Dan

    December 1, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I think Clinton + Donovan + Freeman is excellent. I do love the idea of Michael Jordan though to show American sports are behind the World Cup. Hell I would say Tiger Woods 2 years ago would’ve been great too! Too bad he f*ed up his career 😛

  5. Troy

    December 1, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Bill “Bubba” Clinton is the best speaker by a long shot. There is no leader with his presence in the world.

    • Ryan

      December 2, 2010 at 1:37 am

      Did u watch his speak yesterday… I fell asleep. What a bore. Speaking about his accomplishments…

  6. Taylor Murdoch

    November 30, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    He’s not even American and he couldn’t make the flight to Zurich mid-season, but Steve Nash is one of North American soccer’s best ambassadors right now. There are very few people in sport so gifted, thoughtful, and passionately outspoken about worthwhile public causes (have you seen his push for early childhood education in AZ?). He’s one of those who it seems is just waiting for a big scandal to bring him down, he’s too good. North American soccer fans are lucky to have him on our side.

    Also, if Obama were to make the pitch, I’d like to see someone like Mitt Romney join him. Not a fan of Romney or his politics, but his connections with the 02 Salt Lake Games and the Checketts of MlS would help. Plus, a nominally bipartisan look (including Obama) would help.

    • James

      December 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm

      It’s true. Nash even juggles in pre-game warm ups or during timeouts. Pretty hilarious.

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