America may end up hosting more games than planned.
The governing body of international soccer, FIFA, is just about done with its assessment of American, Canadian and Mexican cities that it deems are good enough to host matches during the 2026 Men’s World Cup. Good enough means, how much money a local area is willing to pony up to satisfy FIFA. The United States, Canada and Mexico are hosting the global competition. East Rutherford, New Jersey and Inglewood, California more than likely didn’t have to put on much of a show to convince the money loving soccer group that New York and Los Angeles have the markets that have what it takes to host a game. America’s third largest market, Chicago, won’t make the cut because local officials and business leaders decided the World Cup is too expensive a proposition for the area. It is hard to imagine FIFA turning down Jerry Jones’s Arlington, Texas Cowboys stadium or Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’s facility, Ross has an incentive to land the World Cup, he gets a big bonus from local government officials when he lands a big event because big events allegedly bring in tourists who spend money in an area. Canada’s second and third largest markets, Montreal and Vancouver are not on the FIFA list leaving just Toronto and Edmonton as Canadian contenders. Mexico is supposed to have matches in three cities.
FIFA said it’s fact-finding tour was designed to talk to a variety of stakeholders, including city and stadium authorities, as well as football clubs and other sports organizations, while covering key topics like venue management, infrastructure, sustainability and commercial, legal and legacy matters. Legacy matters is an interesting area. Sports mega-events like the World Cup generally lose money even though sports organizations hire economists that claim there is a big financial boost for host cities.
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