Jun 16, 2022 - Sports

FIFA chooses Atlanta's World Cup bid

A photo of the golden FIFA World Cup Trophy
FIFA World Cup trophy is seen ahead of final preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup draw at Doha Exhibition and Convention Center in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Atlanta, we're getting the World Cup.

FIFA on Thursday announced that Atlanta was among the 16 cities across Canada, Mexico and the U.S. that will host the 2026 men's World Cup.

Why it matters: Soccer remains the most popular sport globally, and cities that host the prestigious international tournament see an influx of fans and tourists who pump money into local economies.

  • The tournament is played every four years, typically during the summer.
  • The 2026 tournament will feature 48 nations for the first time, expanded from 32.

Details: Atlanta was one of 11 U.S. cities selected. Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Dallas, New York/New Jersey, Boston, Miami, Houston and Philadelphia also made the cut.

  • Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara in Mexico and Vancouver and Toronto in Canada will also host games.

What they're saying: "Hosting multiple World Cup games will be the biggest event Atlanta has had since the Olympics," says Jason Longshore, a commentator for Atlanta United FC and host of Soccer Down Here.

  • "Atlanta United has made the city into one of the greatest soccer cities in this hemisphere. World Cup games will make it one of the great soccer cities of the world."

How it happened: From the beginning of FIFA's selection process, Atlanta was considered competitive.

  • The region has a deeply rooted love of soccer, a diverse population, an airport with global reach and a legacy of civil rights that aligns with FIFA's campaign for equality, equity and inclusion.

Plus, there's a track record managing large sporting events — though like Longshore said, the World Cup is in a league of its own.

  • "The next four years will take on even more importance as we get ready to be in the spotlight once again,” says A.J. Robinson of Central Atlanta Progress, the civic group that supports Downtown intiatives.

What to watch: This year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar starts on Nov. 21.

  • The U.S. men’s national team will open play against Wales later that day.

What's next: Expect ongoing hotel construction and fine-tuning plans for team training areas and other infrastructure necessary to produce the event.

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