Seattle selected as one of 11 U.S. host cities for World Cup soccer matches in 2026

The SEA 2026 logo for Seattle’s bid to be a host city for international soccer’s 2026 World Cup. (SEA 2026 Image)

Seattle has proven itself to be a premier location for soccer in the United States. Now it will show the world.

The city has been selected as one of the host venues for FIFA World Cup 2026, which will be held in the U.S., Canada and Mexico across 16 cities and will feature 48 teams.

Other cities selected in Seattle’s West Region include Vancouver, B.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Seattle’s energy around soccer has grown with the recent success of the Seattle Sounders FC, winners of the MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019. A record crowd of 68,741 fans at Lumen Field in Seattle saw the team win the Concacaf Champions League in May. The team has established a large and loyal soccer following in Seattle — a key element in satisfying FIFA.

A brand platform and executive committee under the banner SEA 2026 was announced last fall to lead an effort to solidify Seattle’s bid. The seven-person executive committee was a mix of technology, sports, civic and entertainment notables, including:

  • Adrian Hanauer — Chair of SEA 2026 and Sounders FC owner
  • Jenny Durkan — former Mayor of Seattle and SEA 2026 honorary chair
  • Amy Hood — CFO, Microsoft
  • Adam Selipsky — CEO, Amazon Web Services
  • Mark Suzman — CEO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Russell Wilson — former Seattle Seahawks quarterback
  • Ciara — Grammy Award-winning entertainer

Beth Knox, Seattle Sports Commission president and CEO, said the announcement marks the culmination of a 5-year labor of love.

“Seattle brings a passionate fan base, world class facilities and a community committed to hosting fans to a memory-making experience,” she said in a statement tweeted by SEA 2026.

The Sounders ownership group includes a number of tech leaders from the Seattle region. Majority owner Adrian Hanauer is a longtime tech investor and entrepreneur and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is part of an expanded group announced in 2019.

See also  Soccer lovers and tech backers help launch new minor league team in Seattle with community focus

Cities selected from the Central Region include: Kansas City; Dallas; Atlanta; Houston; Monterey, Mexico; and Mexico City.

In the East Region, cities include: Toronto; Boston; Philadelphia; Miami; and New York/New Jersey.

There were 22 locations contending for a chance to host. Nashville, Orlando, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C./Baltimore, Denver and Edmonton were the bidding cities not chosen.

It’s the first time the U.S. has hosted the World Cup since 1994. The 2022 World Cup is planned for November in Qatar.

During the selection show on Thursday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino called the World Cup the “biggest show on Earth” and said 5 or 6 billion people around the world will be tuning in.

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