Writer: Joshua Andino
2 min read June 2022— Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been chosen by FIFA as one of the hosts for the 2026 Men’s World Cup. Now the question is what does this mean for the city?
The city will be hosting up to six games as part of the expanded 48-game lineup prepared for 2026. Alongside Atlanta, cities hosting the games include Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, the New York-New Jersey area, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle. In Mexico, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City were selected alongside Canada’s locations at Vancouver and Toronto.
“We have the pleasure of celebrating Atlanta’s selection as a host city of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, because of our strong, bipartisan public-private partnerships and many who have been working for years to put Georgia on the map since we hosted the 1996 Olympics,” said Governor Brian Kemp in a statement.
The World Cup is the latest addition to Atlanta’s roster of hosting large-scale sporting events, with a resume that includes the Olympics, two Super Bowls, the NCAA’s Final Four and the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
“It’s almost a validation of what our amazing supporters have done in this city,” said Atlanta United soccer club President Darren Eales, in a statement to the MLS. “FIFA genuinely recognize that. They couldn’t believe it when they came and visited and a few of their members came to a match and they saw what was happening. That spoke a lot and I think was the intangible that really put Atlanta towards the top of the pile.”
Hosting the World Cup means that Atlanta will be one of the beneficiaries of the championship’s $5 billion economic impact. According to a study conducted by Boston Consulting Group for U.S. Soccer, individual host cities can anticipate a local impact between $160 to $620 million in incremental economic activity, and accounting for expenses, a total benefit of $90 to $480 million
When it arrives in 2026, the World Cup will present a welcome boon to the local tourism industry, which has seen a slower recovery from lingering impacts of the pandemic and help to makeup lost revenues, which are estimated at $4 billion. Earlier this year, George Gov. Brian Kemp earmarked $150 million for the state’s hotel and lodging industry and workforce development programs. The industry has struggled to take full advantage of pent-up demand for travel as a result of a national labor shortage.
Gov. Kemp highlighted the impact on the state’s tourism industry, saying, “This premiere event will have a positive impact on so many hardworking Georgians. Hotels will fill with guests from around the world; restaurants will provide visitors a taste of the South they will not soon forget; attractions across Georgia will welcome those seeking to experience all the Peach State has to offer; and in each interaction, people will see Georgia’s Southern hospitality on full display. The world will be watching as we meet this moment, and we’re proud of all the entities who worked so hard to get us to this point.”
Atlanta will be a part of the World Cup’s central region alongside Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Mexico City and Monterrey.
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