DENVER — Denver, along with many other locations across North America, will find out in mid-June if it will host a match in the 2026 World Cup, FIFA announced on Friday morning.
FIFA will announce the staging of the World Cup on June 16, the group confirmed. Twenty-two candidate host cities, including Denver, are hoping to host matches for the 48-team tournament, which will be played around the United States, Canada and Mexico. The 22 cities include 23 venues.
“In line with the previous stages of the FIFA World Cup 2026 selection process, any announcement will be made in the best interests of football, taking into consideration the needs of all stakeholders involved, as we aim to lay the foundations for the tournament to be delivered successfully across all three countries,” said FIFA Vice-President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani.
FIFA said it is considering each proposal from the cities, which have touched on sustainability, human rights, legacy, general infrastructure and financial impact.
The candidate cities are:
- Kansas City
- Los Angeles
- Mexico City
- New York/New Jersey
- San Francisco
- Washington DC/Baltimore
Sixteen cities will host the matches. In 2019, officials said three Canadian cities, three Mexican cities and 10 American cities would ultimately host the games. It's not clear if this has changed.
Officials in Denver announced they were ready to put in a bid in mid-July 2019. The Mile High City wouldn’t be the only place to benefit from the games being held within city limits, Nate Shotts, the CEO of Colorado Soccer Association, said during a press conference that day.
“Our surrounding neighbors — Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, Wyoming and many others — are equally supportive of us hosting the FIFA World Cup games,” he said.
The Denver metro area would see more than $300 million in new economic activity from hosting the World Cup, which would support 2,500 jobs and generate $90 million in earnings, Gov. Jared Polis said.
“But beyond that, the tournament brings something that’s really priceless,” Polis said in 2019. “Beyond money, it brings excitement. It brings attention to Colorado’s national beauty on an international stage. It brings pride. It brings patriotism. And it brings a resurgence in sport and participation that is really priceless.”
Padraig Smith, executive vice president and general manager of the Colorado Rapids, said the tournament would also provide inspiration to Colorado’s youth soccer players. It’s no simple task for a city to host the World Cup games, but Denver has shown it can hold international soccer matches, and do it well, Smith said. The city has hosted more than 30 international soccer events with national and club teams.
You can watch the 2019 press conference below:
The Colorado Rapids, Denver Broncos Stadium and Denver Sports Commission released a joint statement in 2018 praising the selection of North America for 2026, saying it could bring millions of dollars to Denver, if the Mile High City ends up playing host.
FIFA will livestream the announcement in June from New York City. Those details have not yet been released.