2026 World Cup: 4 reasons why North American bid matters for Atlanta

For the first time since 1994, FIFA will officially bring the World Cup to North America in 2026.

The combined bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico secured the tournament after a vote of 134 to 65 in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday.

Here are four reasons why the bid will be important for the city of Atlanta.

• Atlanta is one of 23 North American cities in the running to host games throughout the various stages of the 2026 World Cup. That list will eventually be cut down to 16 cities, with 10 of them in the United States, three in Mexico and three in Canada. This will be the first time that three countries have hosted a World Cup at the same time.

• The group pushing the United Bid forward suggested that Atlanta and Dallas could host the World Cup’s semifinal matches, with New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium hosting the final. The bid also suggested that Atlanta could host the tournament’s international broadcast center. FIFA officials toured Atlanta and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in April, giving it high praise.

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• Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Atlanta United FC fans were featured prominently in a video shown by the bid group to voters. Carlos Bocanegra, Atlanta United’s technical director and former U.S. Men’s National Team Captain, is a member of the bid committee’s board of directors. Atlanta United set the Major League Soccer attendance record in March, drawing 72,035 fans to a match.

• Atlanta did not host any World Cup games in 1994, the last time the tournament was played in the United States. The U.S. lost a bid to host the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. According to a US Soccer press release, the tournament is expected to generate $14 billion in revenue.

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