Jun 16, 2022 - Sports

Seattle selected as FIFA World Cup host city

The gold FIFA World Cup trophy with green background behind it.

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 Seattle among the 16 cities that will be home to games during the 2026 World Cup hosted jointly by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

Why it matters: Soccer remains the most popular sport worldwide, 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: Twenty-two cities across the three North American countries were in the running to host games.

  • Seattle beat out Denver, Cincinnati, Nashville, Orlando and Washington, D.C./Baltimore in its bid for one of the coveted spots.
2026 FIFA World Cup host cities
Map: Axios Visuals

Context: Seattle has solidified its reputation as a soccer town in recent years, with its Major League Soccer Sounders' annually drawing top-tier attendance.

  • The team made history in May by becoming the first MLS franchise to win the Concacaf Champions League and earn a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup.

What they're saying: Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell immediately celebrated FIFA's decision, tweeting that: "We can't wait to welcome global fans to Seattle."

  • "In 2026 we will show the world what makes Seattle exceptional and set an example as we foster community through competition, togetherness through teamwork, and civic pride through action," Harrell tweeted.

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.

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