Florida push to Orlando FIFA Host City bid


Florida throws USD5 behind Orlando's WC bid Image: Camping World Stadium

Florida’s business-recruitment agency put $10 million into the pitch on December 8th to help Orlando and Miami (US) become Host Cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ soccer tournament.

The ‘Orlando Weekly’ stated that the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors agreed to provide $5 million for each of the Cities’ efforts, which are being led by the Greater Orlando Sports Commission and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the 23rd FIFA World Cup™, the quadrennial international men’s soccer championship contested by the national teams of the member-associations of FIFA. The tournament will be jointly hosted by 16 Cities in three North American countries. Sixty matches, including the quarterfinals, semi-finals and the final will be hosted by the United States while neighboring Canada and Mexico will each host 10 matches. The tournament will be the first hosted by three nations. This tournament will be the first to include 48 teams, expanded from 32. The games will be held from June 8th, 2026 to July 3rd, 2026.

The Enterprise Florida Board of Directors comprises 59 members representing businesses, Government and other institutions in Florida. With the creation of EFI, Florida became the first State to convert its Department of Commerce into a 501(c) (3) public-private partnership in which business has a leadership role.

The Greater Orlando Sports Commission strategically solicits, creates and supports sports related events and businesses that enhance the community’s economy. Founded in 1993, GO Sports has hosted or co-hosted more than 1,450 events in the Greater Orlando (US) area with a total economic impact exceeding $1.9 billion in spending within the community.

The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau promote Greater Miami and the Beaches as a prime arts and culture, convention and leisure travel destination. The Bureau creates partnerships between Greater Miami businesses and the arts community.

Said Holly Borgmann, Vice-Chairwoman of the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors, “We talk about the impact that having two Super Bowls in two years had on the Florida economy, and this would be the equivalent of having like two Super Bowls in one month, one week, but times like an exponential number. I don’t know the numbers, but this would be a huge way to celebrate our Cities and our State on a global scale. It would bring a ton of tourism to the area. And it demonstrates to FIFA the State’s commitment to fund this important tournament.”

The ‘Orlando Weekly’ further stated that the State money wouldn’t be released until contracts are signed for either potential venue – the 65,000-capacity Camping World Stadium in Orlando or the 65,326-capacity Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The 2026 games will be hosted jointly by the US, Canada and Mexico. The US is expected to get the bulk of the games, including the quarterfinals, semi-finals and the finals.

Canada and Mexico have been expected to each host 10 matches. However, Montreal has withdrawn from the selection process, leaving Canada with only two Cities bidding for the games – Edmonton and Toronto.

Before Montreal’s withdrawal, US Cities were expected to host 60 Cup matches, with City selections slated to be made early in the second quarter of 2022.

FIFA’s site-inspection team recently finished its final round of potential Host-City visits.

The FIFA Chief Competitions and Events Officer Colin Smith said that “there’s no finite number as to how many (Cities) we’ll decide. In the region of 16 is what was originally proposed.”

Florida has been behind the local efforts to host games since at least August 2019, when Governor Ron DeSantis said after attending Major League Soccer’s (MLS’s) All-Star Game at the 25,500-capacity Orlando City Stadium that he would push for Orlando and Miami to be among the Cities across North America where games will be held.

The Governor said at the time, “It’s a great return on investment and I think it’s a great thing to experience for a lot of our young kids and families. But also, it will pump a lot of money into the economy.”

Orlando hosted five games in the 1994 tournament, when the US was the sole host country.

Other US Cities or regions seeking to host games include Boston, Nashville, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles, which is pushing two stadiums as potential venues.

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