Feb 4, 2024 - News

Atlanta to host eight 2026 World Cup matches

Illustration of a soccer ball broken up into small pieces and rearranged

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Atlanta will host eight matches, including one of the two semifinals, in the 2026 Men's World Cup.

Why it matters: The World Cup is expected to bring "millions" of people to Atlanta, tourism officials have said, giving the city its most prominent spot on the world sports stage since the 1996 Olympics.

Driving the news: FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, shared the tournament's schedule during a livestream that included their officials and celebrities representing the three North American host countries.

Details: FIFA said Atlanta will host group matches on June 15, 18, 21, 24 and 27 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The city will also host a knockout round on July 1, a Round of 16 match on July 7 and a July 15 semifinal.

  • The 39-day tournament's opening game will be played in Mexico City's famous Estadio Azteca on June 11. Los Angeles will host the U.S. opening game.
  • Dallas will host the other semifinal. The final will be played in New York-New Jersey.

Of note: In June 2022, Atlanta was named one of 11 U.S. host cities. The 2026 World Cup marks the first time in more than 20 years that the tournament will be played in more than one country.

By the numbers: Atlanta could see a net $415 million economic benefit, the sports council said after the 2022 announcement, citing a 2017 Boston Consulting Group report.

  • Each match held in Atlanta would generate $4.6 million in global media exposure, the ASC said.

Zoom out: MARTA officials do not expect crews to finish a roughly $200 million overhaul of Downtown's Five Points station, which will see a sharp spike in foot traffic, before the tournament.

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