FIFA to announce World Cup 2026 host venues next month

The announcement is expected June 16.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 4:20 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Queen City will learn in less than a month whether we’ll be a host venue for the 2026 World Cup.

FIFA intends to announce the host sites during a news conference in New York on June 16, according to the 2026 Cincy Local Organizing Committee.

“Over the last five years during the 2026 FIFA World Cup bid process, Cincinnati has had the opportunity to showcase everything we can offer to FIFA to host a world-class international event,” said Jeff Berding, Co-CEO of FC Cincinnati & 2026 Cincy LOC Executive Member. “We look forward to this final announcement on June 16.”

Cincinnati is one of 17 US cities vying to be a World Cup Host City. Ten of the 17 will be chosen from the US, while the remaining cities will be in Mexico and Canada. Cincinnati and Kansas City are the only two Midwest cities competing for a slot.

Local officials comprising the organizing committee as well as Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine rolled out the red carpet for FIFA representatives last year.

The US Men’s National Team played the Mexico National Team a month later in a 2022 World Cup qualifier considered a small-scale test run for Cincinnati’s viability.

The organizing committee puts the potential economic impact for a World Cup host city at up to $480 million.

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. The Cincy LOC’s estimation is vastly less, saying they think 3,086 jobs would come to the Tri-State if Cincinnati is chosen to host.

The match would be hosted at Paul Brown Stadium, which was built to accommodate soccer matches. The Bengals’ lease of the stadium expires in 2026. The county wants the stadium used more to help sustain itself financially.

One potential issue with Cincinnati’s bid is the lack of a convention center hotel after the demolition of the much-maligned Millennium last year.

3CDC is spearheading a collaborative city-county effort to redevelop the convention center district including the construction of an 800-room hotel on the 4th Street parking lot south of the convention center.

3CDC Executive Director Steve Leeper told the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners he hopes to bid out the project to national hotel brands and developers by the end of the year, with a completion date of end-2025 in sight.

The cost is expected to be around $360 million for the hotel alone, with the redevelopment of the convention center adding another $100 million. So far no funding mechanism has been established.

Cincinnati City Council and the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners agreed to appoint 3CDC in oversight of the convention center district redevelopment with the specific intention of expediting a long-delayed process ahead of the World Cup.

Leeper is set to make the same presentation (below) to Cincinnati City Council next week.

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