1. U.S. MIGHT LOSE 2026 WORLD CUP BID TO MOROCCO: The United States-led bid to host the 2026 World Cup has less support than Morocco’s bid according to FIFA executives. Recent actions of President Trump are a likely cause for the country’s lack of support to host the event. ESPN: “There is a technical component—the 2026 event will be the first with an expanded 48-team field, putting an even greater importance on a country's stadiums and venue-city setup—but the United States' superiority in that area is unquestioned. The trickier question for the North American bid is actually something remarkably basic: At this particular moment in time, does the world want to give something nice to the United States? There already was a leeriness toward the United States in corners of the football world, particularly in South America, as some national federations remain upset over how an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice exposed widespread corruption among their executives. More recently, however, the North American bid has had to counter an anti-American sentiment that stems largely from actions taken by President Donald Trump's administration, multiple sources said. Those actions include a travel ban affecting mostly Arab countries, public comments that perpetuate stereotypes and the reported use of profanity in describing poorer countries. When North American bid officials visit with federation officials in a foreign country, they rarely get questions about stadiums or hotels, according to sources; rather, they have been quizzed about whether the United States can be considered a friendly place for foreigners. That is why the North American bid—which Gulati's successor Carlos Cordeiro has made a top priority after being elected the new USSF president—is trying as much as possible to stress the Canadian and Mexican involvement. The United States will host the vast majority of the games if the bid wins, but organizers are pushing the notion that their bid is about unity—a concept they believe is critical in the current global environment.” http://es.pn/2F1APdU
2. SEE GOOGLE'S INTERACTIVE A.I. SHOWCASE AT MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS: In an effort to stand out at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google built an interactive, outdoor “Android Village” to show off its latest artificial intelligence features. Adweek: “Amid all the mobile devices being released this week during the Mobile World Congress trade show, it’s not easy to stand out inside the Fira Barcelona Gran Via convention hall. However, Google—that little underdog of a company out of Silicon Valley—has for the past several years been creating a bit of fun out of the world wide web of gadgets. This week, in an outdoor space between convention halls, Google has created an oasis of sorts that stands out from the crammed booths full of bright lights, sounds and crowds. The Android Village, as it’s called, aims to showcase some of the features of Android Oreo, its new operating system, in a way that’s less sales-focused and more interactive. ... The village is split into a number of back-to-back stations in a long, narrow area, perhaps unintentionally representing a conveyer belt where visitors pop from one station to the next. Each station, staffed by Googlers wearing blue Converse All-Stars and workers wearing arctic-white jumpsuits, has a different theme to showcase the products in the new lineup of phones Google has unveiled this week during the event. To promote Google Lens—a visual-recognition feature within Google’s artificial-intelligence platform, Google Assistant—one booth features a wall full of pop-culture and art references. Taking a photo at the Android Exploration Center unlocks a variety of ways to learn more or consume related content on Google or a partner service. For example, scanning a photo of Dua Lipa lets visitors listen to the English pop star on Spotify, while one of Spanish architect Antonin Gaudi triggers some of his quotes. Scanning a copy of the book Hamilton opens YouTube with scenes from the Broadway play, while a shot of a Wi-Fi password lets users click on the photo to copy even the longest login." http://bit.ly/2FKmT5a
3. SOME PUBLICISTS WON�T LET CELEBS TALK TO RYAN SEACREST DURING OSCARS RED CARPET: Following allegations that Ryan Seacrest sexually harassed his personal stylist for years, many publicists are planning to direct celebrities away from the host of E! network’s Oscars red-carpet coverage on Sunday. Page Six: “Seacrest has strenuously denied the claims, alleging that he’s being shaken down for cash and citing an investigation by E! parent company NBCUniversal that cleared him of wrongdoing. Regardless, top Hollywood publicists tell Page Six that they will steer many of their stars away from Seacrest on the Oscar red carpet. Given the white-hot emotions and politics surrounding Hollywood abuse—and the seriousness of the allegations made against Seacrest—the flacks said they would instead direct their clients to Seacrest’s co-host, Giuliana Rancic, or skip E! altogether. ‘Usually Ryan is the one you want … but there are so many outlets on that carpet, why risk it? There’s plenty of other places for clients to get the exposure,’ one PR powerhouse told us. Another PR source said it would depend on the client, but ‘if it was a [client who had been involved in the #MeToo movement], I would never put them in that position. I don’t think any smart person would.’ The insider chatter comes as a star of ABC’s ‘Scandal,’ Bellamy Young, called for Seacrest to sit out the event.” http://pge.sx/2F9ZBaP
* LOCAL NEWS *
CHICAGO: Chocolate Fest will take place May 18-20 in downtown Long Grove. The family-friendly festival will include a scavenger hunt and a Chocolate Experience Tent with chocolate demonstrations, artisans, truffle making, and a fountain.
DALLAS/FORT WORTH: The Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau announced its new name, Visit Fort Worth, and revealed its 10-year destination master plan and debuted its “Fort Worth Stories” marketing video series at its fifth annual meeting and breakfast, which took place Wednesday at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.
LAS VEGAS: The Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show, taking place March 26-28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, will debut its first-ever eSports and Gaming Pavilion on the expo floor. The pavilion will host daily tournaments and demonstrations.
LOS ANGELES: The Potluck Hospitality Conference, an events and hospitality industry conference, will take place March 5-6 at Valentine and Grass Room downtown.
For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles
NEW YORK: The New York Junior League’s 66th annual Winter Ball, Riviera Romance, will take place Saturday at the Pierre Hotel.
Food Bank For New York City’s Can Do Awards Dinner will take place April 17 at Cipriani Wall Street. The event will honor Bank of America and Lee Brian Schrager.
For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork
ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA: The Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival runs today through Sunday at Sunshine Grove. Headliners include Arcade Fire, Halsey, and Travis Scott.
SAN FRANCISCO: The 26th annual Noise Pop Festival, which ran February 19-25, had its highest attendance yet with approximately 30,000 attendees.
TORONTO: Celebrate Toronto, a four-day public event celebrating the city’s 184th birthday, will take place March 3-6 at Nathan Phillips Square. The event will feature food trucks and local vendors, a DJ skate party, and a photography competition.
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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.
BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from BizBash.com.
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