Jun 16, 2022 - Sports

FIFA rejects Denver’s World Cup bid

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

FIFA on Thursday announced the 16 cities that will host 2026 World Cup games — and Denver was not among them.

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

Details: The tournament is played every four years, typically during the summer.

  • The 2026 tournament will be hosted by Canada, Mexico and the U.S., and will feature teams from 48 nations for the first time, expanded from 32.

What they're saying: "There's a lot of politics in these decisions, it's not always a sure thing as people are led to believe," Irwin Kishner, co-chair of Herrick Sports Law Group, told Axios Denver.

  • Kishner noted there were several factors taken into consideration with each candidate city, including the proposed venue, local hotel capacity, the potential attraction to fans and the means to transport people.
  • He considered whether the city's incentive package played a role in the decision. The Denver Sports Commission's executive director told the AP it would cost between $40 million and $45 million in private money to host Cup games.
  • Denver's bid committee said the city's altitude may have also hurt its chances.

Details: Across the three North American host countries, 22 were in the running to host games.

What to watch: This year's FIFA World Cup, happening in Qatar, starts Nov. 21.

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