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Boston presents shared vision to FIFA, U.S. Soccer in bid to host 2026 FIFA World Cup

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A partnership is underway for Boston to secure one of the final 10 United States destination cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Members of Boston’s 2026 Bid Host Committee met virtually on Tuesday, July 28, with FIFA and U.S. Soccer to present its shared vision to serve as one of the final 10 United States destination cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Representatives from the New England Revolution, Kraft Sports and Entertainment, City of Boston,  Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Greater Boston Sports Partnership participated in the call to showcase Boston and New England on the international stage.

Tuesday’s online one-on-one workshop was a key next step in the host city selection process, and the first opportunity for Boston to make its case directly to FIFA executives in Zurich, Switzerland. The Greater Boston bid calls for numerous fan activations and team training sites throughout the city. World Cup games would be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, the site of numerous international soccer matches in recent decades.

Brian Bilello, president of Boston Soccer 2026 and president of the New England Revolution, said, “Our region is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and once again welcome the international soccer community to our diverse city, state, and region. We had the honor of hosting matches for the 1994 FIFA Men’s World Cup and the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cups, which brought fans across New England together for one of the world’s greatest sporting events. Boston is one of America’s most passionate sports cities that we know will welcome World Cup fans from around the globe with a world-class experience at Gillette Stadium.”

Boston is one of 17 potential U.S. host cities (from an original 23 U.S. candidate cities), along with Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, DC.

The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the largest to date with 80 matches featuring 48 national teams slated to take place: 60 in the United States, 10 in Canada, and 10 in Mexico. The international tournament was last held in the United States in 1994, with Boston serving as one of nine host cities.

Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Martha J. Sheridan said, “Team Boston is committed to delivering an unparalleled World Cup experience for fans, athletes and team officials. In a year when America will be celebrating its 250th anniversary and the Commonwealth’s pivotal role in our country’s revolutionary story, it is only fitting that we would welcome the world to Boston as host to the greatest global sports tournament.”

The Boston Consulting Group’s research has estimated that individual 2026 FIFA World Cup host cities can expect to see up to 450,000 visitors and a potential net economic impact of up to $480 million. As a next step in the selection process, FIFA will conduct site visits to all candidate host cities and venues. The timeline for these visits are still unknown due to COVID-19 travel impacts, but a decision on the final host city locations is expected sometime in mid-2021.