USA Bid Committee Names David Downs '77 Executive Director as U.S. Confirms Desire to Host World Cup
From a ussoccer.com release (Read the full article)
CHICAGO, IL — U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced Monday afternoon that the U.S. Soccer Federation has officially submitted a declaration of interest to host either the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, and that David Downs ’77 will be the Executive Director of the USA Bid Committee. Downs, who will start immediately, previously served as President of Univision Sports from 2001-2009.
Downs enters into his new position after serving more than 30 years in the broadcast industry as an executive with both ABC and Univision Communications, Inc. During his time at both networks, Downs participated in successful negotiations with international governing body FIFA to acquire the U.S. television rights to every World Cup beginning with USA '94, including the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.
Since 2001, Downs was President of Univision Sports at Univision Communications Inc., the fifth largest television network in the United States and by far the country's leading Spanish-language television broadcast company.
"It is a privilege to be named Executive Director and have the opportunity to be part of the country's bid to bring the World Cup back to the United States," said Downs. "I believe the sport will continue its incredible growth in this country and I know that the U.S. can host yet another first class World Cup tournament. It's a formidable challenge, but I'm looking forward to dedicating the next two years to the pursuit of that goal."
Prior to his role at Univision, Downs worked at ABC Television Network for 21 years. Starting in 1978 as the researcher for ABC Sports' coverage of the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, Downs steadily moved up the ranks at ABC Sports to lead that department's programming planning and rights acquisition area for a decade. Downs also served as Senior Vice President, Network Operations and Development, his last position at the network from 1998-99. In that position, he was responsible for managing and supervising day-to-day network operations as well as building new business.
Born in Leiden, Netherlands, to a Dutch mother and an American father, Downs' family moved to the United States when he was a young child. He attended Amherst College, playing soccer for the Lord Jeffs, before graduating in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in history.
An avid soccer fan since he was a kid, he looked up to his grandfather who played for first division Dutch club HVV (Haagse Voetbal Vereniging) in the late 1910s-early 1920s. Downs attended his first professional match in the early 1970s when his uncle took him to an Arsenal match at Highbury, making him a fan of the Gunners for life.
Along with playing and watching the game, Downs has been involved in almost every level of U.S. youth soccer as a coach, referee and parent. He and his wife, Alexis, live in Westchester County, New York, and have two children, Ashley and Taylor ’08.