May 25, 2022 - Sports

Mayor Cooper doubles down on World Cup bid

Potential sites for FIFA World Cup 2026
Data: ESPN; Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

Mayor John Cooper reiterated his administration's enthusiasm for bringing 2026 World Cup games to Nashville in a letter to a top FIFA executive earlier this month.

Why it matters: On June 16, FIFA is announcing the North American host cities for the 2026 tournament, which envisions using up to 18 sites.

The intrigue: Cooper's assurances come as he's in the midst of negotiating a financing plan for a new Titans stadium next to Nissan Stadium.

  • The two sides hope to have the framework of a plan announced in the coming weeks, with the goal of completing construction prior to the Titans' 2026 season and the summer World Cup tournament.

What he's saying: In the letter, which Axios acquired through a records request, Cooper told FIFA chief tournament and events officer Colin Smith that through the "stadium's close proximity to downtown, our wide array of tourism amenities, and, most importantly, our southern hospitality, Nashville will provide an unparalleled fan experience for our many local fans as well as those traveling from afar."

Details: Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon tells Axios the organization presented FIFA with both options for hosting games — Nissan or the possible new stadium.

Between the lines: The World Cup is a desirable tourism event because it typically means hosting multiple matches and drawing fans for several days at a time.

  • An economic impact study released earlier this year estimated the event would generate $694.6 million in total economic impact for Nashville.
  • "I think we're in pretty good shape," Spyridon says. "Construction approval and timeline will dictate preferred options if we are selected."
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