Dan Hilferty was currently at the center of Philadelphia’s 2026 Planet Cup preparing as the chair of the regional organizing committee. But his current move to turn into Comcast-Spectacor’s new CEO has place him even a lot more at the center of the action.
Comcast is amongst the most influential sponsors of the regional Planet Cup work, and definitely the most well-known name. Comcast-Spectacor is just one particular branch of the business, whose Television division owns the Spanish-language rights to the 2026 tournament (and this year’s women’s Planet Cup), as effectively as the rights to the English Premier League, Olympics, and U.S. national group property games.
The several branches generally operate on their personal. But for one thing this huge, there’s overlap behind the scenes.
“We locate synergies and [are] figuring out how we could operate closely with FIFA to boost the fan practical experience,” Hilferty mentioned. “But also, really frankly, to make positive that not only our prospects, but Philadelphians in basic have an chance to be component of this terrific occasion.”
How that plays out will be one particular of the most significant regional soccer stories of the subsequent 3 years. There’s currently been a lot of controversy more than plans to construct a sports field complicated in FDR Park that would serve as a Planet Cup practice facility that summer time.
A loud caucus in South Philadelphia is opposed to creating more than park land recognized as the Meadows. A similarly loud caucus has responded by noting the city’s lack of recreational sports facilities. Nearby officials have attempted to claim there’s space for each.
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Protesters at a meeting in January about plans to construct a sports field complicated at FDR Park.. … Read moreJessica Griffin / Employees Photographer
Hilferty produced no reference to that topic, although that wasn’t as well surprising — it is been handled a lot more by City Hall. But he has been involved in other locations, such as a series of current meetings with FIFA on subjects like hotel capacity.
“They really feel incredibly superior about exactly where we stand,” Hilferty mentioned of FIFA. “Not only with the [stadium] web site, creating sponsorships, but also preparing about almost everything from exactly where we’re going to do the fan fest to exactly where we are with all the hotels.”
The fan fest place is yet another huge item when it comes to matters beyond the sports complicated, for regional residents and out-of-town guests alike. Penn’s Landing has been the front-runner place for a whilst, but Hilferty mentioned there’s nonetheless no selection however.
“That’s a dialogue with the people at FIFA, and at this point we haven’t identified a final web site,” he mentioned.
The subsequent huge point on the calendar is earning hosting rights for subsequent year’s Copa América, the South American championship tournament that will come to the U.S. as a warmup for 2026. As the 2016 Copa América Centenario did, it is anticipated to drive a spike in interest, and serve as a test run for Planet Cup host venues.
But there’s no assure that it will be played only at Planet Cup web pages. Cities that came up brief in the bidding could get Copa games as a consolation prize, as could huge markets like Phoenix and Chicago that didn’t bid for Planet Cup games at all. So Philadelphia will have to compete.
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Lincoln Economic Field hosted games in the 2016 Copa América Centenario, and could host games when the tournament returns to the United States subsequent year.. … Read moreCal Sport Media by way of AP Pictures
Hilferty mentioned the Planet Cup organizing committee will not be officially involved in that, but he sent a message to the entities that will take the lead.
“I definitely hope the powers that be that are involved, no matter if it be the city, [the] Convention and Guests Bureau, that we have a superior shot at it.”
The Eagles will also be considerably involved — and games of the Copa’s scale would undoubtedly be at Lincoln Economic Field. Regardless of whether the U.S. plays right here or not, the crowds will effortlessly be larger than Subaru Park’s 18,500-seat capacity.
“Our area is property to a big and passionate soccer neighborhood,” the Eagles mentioned in a statement. “We will generally be interested in participating in conversations that could lead to bringing planet-class soccer events to Lincoln Economic Field for these fans to appreciate.”
Though the Planet Cup committee could possibly not be officially involved in Copa América preparing, Hilferty knows that absolutely everyone in town shares duty for finding marquee events right here just before 2026. The Linc hasn’t hosted a huge soccer game given that August 2019, when the U.S. females came to town immediately after the Planet Cup and drew almost 50,000 fans — the most significant crowd for a standalone friendly in group history.
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The U.S. women’s soccer group drew 49,504 fans to Lincoln Economic Field for a game there in 2019.. … Read moreMitchell Leff / Getty Pictures
The pandemic has definitely been a element, but 3 and a half years is a extended adequate wait. European teams will return to the U.S. for tours this summer time, and there will be the Concacaf men’s Gold Cup.
Nor has the web site for the men’s Nations League final 4 been set however. That is the occasion exactly where the U.S. will most likely play Europe-primarily based stars such as Medford’s Brenden Aaronson and Downingtown’s Zack Steffen, so they can take the summer time off. They haven’t played at the Linc just before, and it is effortless to visualize them finding a raucous reception.
“If it is international events, if it is regional events like the Unity Cup, to perhaps finding some [English Premier League] teams to come and play [here], we’re seeking at all sorts of possibilities,” Hilferty mentioned. “Obviously the city’s involved, the Convention and Guests Bureau is involved, the Eagles are involved, the Union are involved. So we continue to appear for strategies to develop the game by inviting premier teams to play right here — males and females.”
Final week, Hilferty was one particular of the guests of honor at the Union’s annual Legends of Soccer fundraiser dinner for the team’s charity foundation. The occasion raised a lot more than $282,000.
“We’re all incredibly proud of the Philadelphia Union, [what] the Philadelphia Union Foundation does for our terrific neighborhood of Chester and effectively beyond,” he mentioned.
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Dan Hilferty (left) with Union component-owner Richard Leibovitch on stage at the Union Foundation’s Legends of Soccer Gala dinner.. … Read moreJonathan Tannenwald / Employees