Canada, U.S. and Mexico launch 2026 World Cup bid

The top two teams from each group will then advance to a 32-team knockout stage.Canada is coming off hosting the 2015 Women’s World Cup, deemed a success on and off the field. was the only host. It is expected to confirm the bid rules at its May 11 congress in Bahrain.A decision on the successful 2026 bidder is expected in May 2020.Canada has only ever qualified for one men’s World Cup — in 1986. No rival bid has emerged for the 2026 tournament, which is due to be awarded by FIFA in 2020.FIFA rules currently rule out bidders from Europe and Asia because Russia is staging the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar has the showpiece in 2022.Organizers say 10 games would be played in Canada. The final would be held in the U.S.The 2018 men’s World Cup is set for Russia with the 2022 tournament headed to Qatar.The 2026 tournament will be the first of the expanded format.The FIFA Council agreed in January to expand the current the 32-country tournament to 48 teams split into 16 groups of three. CONCACAF will argue its time has come.It will also no doubt make the case that a joint bid allows for more resources to host the expanded tournament.The FIFA Council has already agreed on a four-phase process for bidding for the 2026 tournament. It has also hosted the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup, the 2007 U-020 Men’s World Cup, and the 1997 U-16 Men’s World Cup (now a U-17 event)CONCACAF hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986 (both Mexico) and 1994 (U.S.).When 2026 comes round, there will have been 32 years and seven World Cups since the 1994 one held in the U.S. That’s double the size of the last World Cup in North America in 1994 when the U.S. with Europe (3), Asia (2), Africa (1) and South America (1) having served as host. Canada, the United States and Mexico have launched their bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup.The joint bid was announced on Monday atop the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan by the heads of the American, Mexican and Canadian federations.They are seeking to host the first World Cup with an expanded 48-nation field.

It’s a new ball game for Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez

“We’re looking forward to that and kind of changing the momentum of where it’s at right now.” And his 15-2 record was the highest winning percentage (.882) in baseball.The Blue Jays are pinning much of their hopes of making the postseason for a third straight year on the continued advancement of their 24-year-old right hander.He didn’t disappoint on Saturday in his first start of the season in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing just one run off four hits while striking out six through seven innings of stellar work.Unfortunately, the Toronto bats were mostly silent during the 3-2 Rays win in 11 innings.All in all, it was a rough starting road trip for the Blue Jays, who lost five of their first six games. Martin was behind the plate for the Dodgers on May 25, 2008, when Clayton Kershaw made his MLB debut, allowing two runs off five hits while striking out seven over six innings in a 4-3 L.A. Aaron Sanchez was luxuriating in a big, comfy chair at a swanky downtown Toronto sports bar on Monday morning, intently staring at a large flat-screen television while expertly operating a video-game controller.The on-the-cusp superstar pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, a native of Barstow, Calif., was playing PlayStation’s MLB The Show 17, the latest version of the franchise. “I tell them they have to come up to Canada to get it.”It was a welcome off day for the struggling Blue Jays, who hope to bounce back from a tepid road start when they welcome the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night to Rogers Centre for their home opener.But for Sanchez, this was still a working gig. “Away from the game he is a really awesome guy but with an edge when pitching.“And you can see that in guys like Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. Louis.While he hates comparing players, Martin said he sees a lot of similarities in the way Kershaw and Sanchez conduct themselves both on and off the field.“I caught Kershaw in his first start when he was, like, 20 years old, and you could sense the competitive nature right away,” Martin said. Over the next several hours, he would continue to play the game while extolling its virtues to about 16 journalists, who were each granted 10-minute interview sessions with the pitcher.It’s all part of a new game that Sanchez finds himself growing accustomed to as his stature as one of baseball’s rising young stars continues to grow. Sanchez is in high demand for media interviews, and his marketing appeal is starting to grow through the exposure he is getting from the likes of the video game.He also turned more than a few heads early this year when he hired Scott Boras, the most powerful agent in all of sports.Everything Sanchez does these days is under a microscope – to the extent that even a seemingly innocuous Twitter spat with teammate Marcus Stroman over the winter sparked headlines.“I’m still the same kid that I’ve been my whole life,” Sanchez said on Monday.Last season was a breakout year for him. A 1-5 record looks much worse at the start of a season than at any other time of the year, said Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson.“But we feel very good about getting back home and getting playing in front of our fans,” he said. Tuesday night’s game against the Brewers will mark the start of a nine-game home stand.Russell Martin, the veteran Toronto catcher, has caught some of the game’s premier pitchers since he entered the major leagues with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006. They give up one run and that’s too many.”Despite their fumbling start, the Blue Jays remain confident that things will soon start to swing in their favour. version features Ken Griffey Jr., a member of the Hall of Fame. Sanchez’s picture graces the cover of the Canadian edition, while the U.S. He won the American League ERA title with a mark of 3.00. Pitcher Wei-Yin Chen of the Miami Marlins is on the Taiwanese cover. win over St. “All my friends are calling me, asking me to send them one of the games with my picture on it,” Sanchez said, his fingers and thumbs working the controller furiously.

Rogers Media begins to reap reward in billion-dollar NHL broadcast deal

However, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who played beyond expectations to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013, led a resurgence along with the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames that will see hockey audiences back in the seven-figure range.CBC, Sportsnet and the other networks carrying Rogers’ national hockey package already saw healthy increases in the regular season after TV audiences declined by 16 per cent in each of the first two seasons of the 12-year, $5.2-billion national broadcast deal that Rogers made with the NHL.On March 25, for example, 2.08 million viewers watched the Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres in the early Hockey Night in Canada game on CBC and Sportsnet. The viewers really feel they legitimately have an ownership stake in Hockey Night.“You can literally change too much. It’s something Canadians are really familiar with, and the tradition goes back 63, 64 years.”To that end, Hockey Night in Canada will stay on CBC for at least one more year. In 2016, all seven Canadian teams missed the playoffs, and the television ratings took a 61-per-cent nosedive from 2015, averaging 513,000 viewers for the first 20 games of the first round of the playoffs. Although people may beg to differ, I think on a 12-year deal we’re starting to hit our stride and we’re not fully three years in.”What viewers now see on the show, as well as Rogers’ other national broadcasts, is what they grew up watching. The falling ratings cut into revenue, which cost a lot of on-air and behind-the-scenes people their jobs. That show is broadcast live on location in various Canadian towns and cities with MacLean and co-host Tara Slone, which makes for a busy weekend of travel. One of the things about Saturday night hockey is it’s comfort food. I think in the excitement of the new contract we changed a fair bit. That was part of the production team’s move to more storytelling.“We wanted to get back to that grassroots feel, and that’s where a show like After Hours hits home,” said Rob Corte, Sportsnet’s vice-president of production. In fact, their audiences were often less than a million.“Obviously, team performance drives a lot of it,” Sportsnet president Scott Moore said. There is usually a feature on a player and then, in the second intermission, MacLean and the panel – Kypreos, Kelly Hrudey and Elliotte Friedman – discuss the issues of the week.Also back after an absence of a few years is After Hours, the interview show with host Scott Oake, which airs after the western game of the Saturday night doubleheader. “I feel like there’s a lot of excitement about the sport generally and in some key markets. There is MacLean back in the host’s chair on Saturdays, and he remains by the side of Don Cherry during the first intermission. Glenn Healy was let go from the No. It also gives us an opportunity to spotlight some of the players in that game.”MacLean officially returned as Hockey Night in Canada host for the preseason World Cup of Hockey tournament. Rogers Media is finally starting to see a payoff from its billion-dollar bet on NHL hockey thanks to the return of five Canadian teams to the playoffs.The atmosphere is far more festive around Rogers’ Toronto headquarters than it was a year ago. Despite their complaining on social media, it seems Canadian viewers are more comfortable with the old pair of slippers that was Hockey Night in Canada for generations before Rogers came along.“One of the pillars of our brand is innovation,” Moore said. When Rogers shocked the hockey world by grabbing the Canadian national rights away from CBC and TSN, it cut a deal with the public network to carry the Saturday night show for four years. The discussion panels are back, and, more importantly, Ron MacLean is back as host after the two-year experiment with George Stroumboulopoulos, who was supposed to appeal to a younger, hipper audience. Sometimes they are positive, and sometimes they can challenge you.“We’re a new group, relatively speaking. All of the advertising revenue goes to Rogers, while CBC is allowed air time to promote its own shows. Once the Leafs’ fortunes plunged after their surprise playoff appearance in 2013, the only time TV audiences hit two million or more was when the Leafs were playing their arch-rivals, the Canadiens. “It felt like, for whatever reason, the minute we sat down and went to work, it was comfortable and I was grateful for that.“I felt a sense of relief because, I don’t care who you are, when there’s that much commotion about something there’s a little trepidation, but it never felt that way once we got to work.”He agreed to return to his old role as host of the eastern game on the show only if he could stay on as host of the Sunday night show Hometown Hockey. However, staffers say morale is on the mend.“When you make such a major change, it takes time to feel out the things that work,” said Nick Kypreos, a Sportsnet regular who joined Hockey Night in Canada for the 2014-15 season. There are people experienced in this business for 30, 40 years, but all of us together have only been together for 2 1/2 years. “It brings a little more focus on the second game in the West. 1 broadcast crew, and his acerbic analysis is missed. “Unfortunately, we had to do it every night in front of a million and a half people, and of course the world’s changed with social media. He said that served as an important warmup for the NHL season.“The first World Cup broadcast felt really comfortable,” he said. MacLean admits it can be tiring, but he likes the Sunday show too much to give it up.“The Sunday show was pennies from heaven for me,” he said. People have more access than ever before to voice their opinions. “You want to be careful that innovation doesn’t become change for change’s sake. “It’s a show I felt cut out to do from all my years of [being a referee around Ontario] to being a military brat.“Saturday night will always be the big one, but in my dreams, someone is going to inherit Hockey Night and maybe [Hometown Hockey] can be my landing place again one day.” For us, that’s obviously good.”Also playing a role in the better ratings – albeit not as great a role as the success of the Canadian teams – is the decision by Moore and his fellow broadcast executives to return Hockey Night in Canada to the style it had under CBC’s management – before Rogers took it over in the 2014-15 season.Gone are the glitzy, high-tech studio effects such as see-through floors that double as hockey rinks. Rogers had an option to extend the deal for a fifth year and quietly exercised it.Moore said he would like to extend the relationship with CBC beyond the 2017-18 season and hopes talks begin soon.One sign of Rogers’ eagerness for another deal is that it agreed not to schedule any playoff games on CBC for the first four Sunday nights of the postseason, allowing CBC to carry its history series, Canada: The Story of Us, without being pre-empted by hockey.Not all the changes were happy, though.