FIFA World Cup delegation gets first class treatment during Cincinnati visit

The electronic display shows the team logos over the empty Paul Brown Stadium before an NFL...
The electronic display shows the team logos over the empty Paul Brown Stadium before an NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)(Aaron Doster | AP)
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 7:23 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The committee charged with leading Cincinnati’s 2026 FIFA World Cup host bid met with a delegation of FIFA and US Soccer officials Friday to inspect Paul Brown Stadium.

Friday’s red carpet extravaganza was all part of the “2026 Cincy Street Festival” at The Banks.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear was there to welcome the delegates and hopefully sway them into picking Cincinnati.

“I think the people who are making this selection are saying, ‘who’s the hungriest? Who really wants this?’ And the answer is we [Ohio] want it,” Gov. DeWine stated.

The soccer officials toured Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati’s proposed host venue since TQL does not have the capacity required.

Officials also visited training facilities and potential Fan Fest locations.

Cincinnati is one of 17 US cities vying to be a World Cup Host City. Ten host cities of the 17 will be chosen from the US with the remaining host cities from Mexico and Canada.

Cincinnati and Kansas City are the only two Midwest cities competing for the World Cup.

The 2026 Cincy Local Organizing Committee comprises a who’s-who of Cincinnati executives, including P&G CEO David Taylor; Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen; American Financial co-CEO and FC Cincinnati co-Owner Carl Lindner III; and Ohio National Financial Services CEO Barbara Turner.

The projected economic impact is anywhere from $90 to $480 million for a World Cup host city, according to the organizing committee.

“It’s tens of thousands of visitors coming into our restaurants, our bars, into our retail establishments, going into our hotels of course, generating tax revenue from the hotels. So, this is a really big deal and then unprecedented worldwide promotion of Cincinnati,” FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said.

A World Cup bid for Cincinnati could bring approximately 40,000 jobs to the area, according to a study done by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a leading global management consulting firm.

Berding says another great selling point for Cincinnati as a potential World Cup host is the strong fan support for soccer in the area. One example is FC Cincinnati’s attendance numbers, ranked in the top five in Major League Soccer with the club only in its third year at the MLS level.

“It’s the heart. It’s the heart of a community and I think that’s been evident by the support of FC Cincinnati in a short period of time. Procter and Gamble, Kroger, all the top companies in town are supporting the World Cup bid because they understand what it represents and in Cincinnati when our business community, our civic leaders, our government leaders, sports teams all come together, the people usually respond. We think this is going to be a great opportunity, great day for Cincinnati,” he said.

The city is just weeks away from hosting a World Cup qualifier match between the US and Mexico.

Cincinnati is expected to know in early 2022 whether it will win a bid to host the 2026 World Cup with Paul Brown Stadium as the proposed venue.

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