Americas Bulletin: Rio’s cash-flow nightmare, continued; Wilson pitches for Seattle and more

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Americas Bulletin: Rio’s cash-flow nightmare, continued; Wilson pitches for Seattle and more

After the organisational rigmarole that mired the Rio 2016 Olympics, local organising committee head Carlos Nuzman probably deserved a peaceful retirement or, at the very least, a well-earned holiday. Instead, the 74-year-old now finds himself consigned to the rather less inviting role of debt collector.

Nearly three months after the conclusion of the Games, Brazil’s reports that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to hand over 70 per cent of the US$290 million it promised to the cash-strapped local organisers. The Brazilian federal government, meanwhile, is said to owe half of the US$35 million it pledged to facilitate the running of the Games, while just one fifth of Rio mayor Eduardo Paes’ ‘personal guarantee’ of around US$47 million to cover a shortfall in Paralympics funding has reportedly been paid to date.

With suppliers knocking on the door and hundreds of unpaid workers threatening legal action, Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrade lamented earlier this month that organisers "are struggling a bit in making the ends meet”. IOC president Thomas Bach nevertheless appears unperturbed. Speaking during his keynote address at this week’s Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) general assembly in Doha, Qatar, the German once again hailed this summer's Games an "iconic” success.

Elsewhere, National Football League (NFL) star Russell Wilson already has the freedom of Seattle having helped deliver the city’s first Super Bowl in 2013, and now the popular Seahawks quarterback hopes to go one step further by helping deliver NBA basketball - and, possibly, NHL ice hockey - to the Emerald City, too.

On Monday, Wilson (right) confirmed he had forged formal ties with Chris Hansen’s Sonics Arena Group, investing an undisclosed chunk of his own fortune in the effort having served as a de facto campaigner for some time. The dampened spirits of disgruntled Seattleites were not lifted for long, however, with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman proceeding - not for the first time - to rain on their notoriously soggy parade. "We're not paying a lot of attention to Seattle," Bettman insisted. "If they ever put a shovel in the ground and actually build a building instead of just talking about one, we might pay attention.” 

It's fair to say the North American Soccer League (NASL) has endured a rough few months. First it lost Minnesota United to Major League Soccer (MLS), then came the news that both the Ottawa Fury and Tampa Bay Rowdies were jumping ship to the rival United Soccer League (USL). Still, the league can count on the support of Riccardo Silva.

In a recent interview with The Telegraph, the media mogul turned owner of NASL side Miami FC (left) revealed that it was he who laid the groundwork for the league’s new TV deals with CBS and BeIN Sports earlier this year. "I made the calls,” said the Italian, whose next pet project is to create the Americas Champions League. "I thought the league needed it.”

Have you heard? Golf’s Solheim Cup is heading to Ohio’s Inverness Club in 2021 and the 2022 NCAA Final Four will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana; Coca-Cola’s Monster Energy has emerged as ‘a finalist’ to replace Sprint as the title sponsor of Nascar’s top-tier Cup Series, so says; and last Saturday’s UFC 205, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first-ever event in New York City, set numerous records for the world’s premier MMA promotion, generating US$17.7 million at the gates - a UFC and Madison Square Garden record - and some 14 billion impressions on social media, more than any other event in UFC history.