Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. While it may not always be the most-viewed sport in America, the opportunity for a city to host the 2026 World Cup is still noteworthy. On June 13, 2018, FIFA awarded the 2026 World Cup to the US, Canada, and Mexico, which will combine to host 80 matches.
The cities that will host 2026 World Cup games will be announced by FIFA on June 16.
“The host cities will be absolutely key to ensuring the successful delivery of the competition,” FIFA’s Chief Tournaments & Events Officer Colin Smith said. “We look forward to working with them to deliver what will undoubtedly be the largest FIFA World Cup in history.”
2026 World Cup Hosting Details
The joint bid that won the rights to host the World Cup will have 16 cities involved in being a host site for various tournament games. The United States is the primary host as it will have 10 cities host matches. In comparison, Canada and Mexico will have three cities each host matches.
Currently, the United States has 15 cities in contention for those 10 spots. Those cities are Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C./Baltimore (joint bid).
Boston seems like a logical and intelligent choice.
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Boston’s FIFA World Cup History
Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, installed a grass surface in 1994 in hopes of hosting World Cup games. The move was successful, and Foxboro Stadium hosted four group stage games and two elimination games during the 1994 World Cup.
Those six games had a total attendance of 324,000. two of those games were Argentina victories, including the final match of Diego Maradona’s international career. In two other games in Boston, Italy beat Nigeria and Spain.
Gillete Stadium Plans
For Boston to be able to host games at Gillette Stadium, some modifications will have to be made to prepare it for soccer to be played instead of football.
- Removal of the synthetic turf surface to be replaced by a natural grass surface and the revival of the stadium irrigation system.
- Removal of some sideline seating to have a wide enough playing surface, including the bench areas.
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Reasons Why Boston is a Good Host City
- Boston has a history of success in hosting World Cup games previously. The Patriots’ owner remains the same, making it logical.
- The city already does an excellent job supporting its local Major League Soccer team — the New England Revolution — proving that it is a soccer-loving city that will show up to the games.
- Boston itself is a beautiful city with solid infrastructure, multiple methods of transportation, and plenty of tourist venues. It has lodging choices to host international teams and their fanbases.
As a whole, Boston is one of a small handful of American cities that makes sense. Very few cities can say they have successfully hosted World Cup games, have an MLS team, and have the city capable of handling the influx of people that will come to the games.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer