Jun 17, 2022 - Sports

Nashville doesn't make the list of World Cup cities

2026 FIFA World Cup host cities
Map: Axios Visuals

Nashville will not host the World Cup in 2026, bringing a disappointing end to a decade-long pursuit spanning four mayors.

  • FIFA announced the cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico that will host the global phenomenon Wednesday.

Driving the news: Sixteen cities were selected to host the tournament, which is a major international tourism draw that generates tens of millions of dollars in visitor spending.

  • The central region host cities will be Kansas City, Missouri; Houston; Dallas; and Atlanta.

Context: Nashville missed out on a bid at the same time Mayor John Cooper and the Tennessee Titans are negotiating a financing plan to build a new stadium in East Nashville.

  • Based on the current timeline, a new stadium would have been completed in 2026, which generated questions from FIFA decision-makers about the city's bandwidth to host the tournament.

The intrigue: Cooper, along with Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. CEO Butch Spyridon, addressed FIFA's questions in recent months. Cooper assured decision-makers that Nashville was all in on bringing the World Cup here.

  • Music City has established itself as a soccer town, with excellent attendance at Nashville SC games. But the recently opened Geodis Park isn't big enough to accommodate World Cup crowds.

What they're saying: "While we are deeply disappointed, we've known since the beginning that we were a long shot. You never know what goes into these final decisions, but we are very appreciative to FIFA for the opportunity to compete," Spyridon said in a press release.


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