(The Center Square) – Seattle has been chosen as one of the cities to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
The announcement came on June 16 as numerous Seattle bars exploded with cheers from fans watching inside. There is a lot to potentially cheer for. FIFA brings the biggest names in soccer together to compete.
U.S. Soccer claims it also brings as much as $480 million to the city. Though large events come with a taxpayer price tag as well, notably the police overtime.
“This is a massive win for Washington tourism and hospitality — we look forward to welcoming soccer spectators from around the world to enjoy world-class restaurants and hotels,” Washington Hospitality Association President Anthony Anton said in a statement.
The “Visit Seattle” sales team and their hotel partners prepared for the announcement by securing over 10,000 hotel rooms across the region to ensure Seattle would be well-equipped for the mass amount of tourism the world cup attracts.
The matches will be held at Lumen Stadium, sitting next to Elliot Bay. Lumen Stadium has grown a reputation for its electric atmosphere. Most famously, a big play by Former Seattle Seahawks Running Back Marshawn Lynch in the 2011 playoffs caused crowd cheers to shake the ground so much that the vibrations were picked up by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.
“Lumen Field was truly built for this and we can’t wait to show fans from around the globe the electric, energizing atmosphere our stadium is known for,” Seattle Seahawks President Chuck Arnold said.
Soccer has become increasingly more popular in Seattle, thanks in part to the local Major League Soccer club the Seattle Sounders. Recently, the Sounders became the first MLS club to win the CONCACAF Champions League while over 68,000 were in attendance at Lumen Field. A similarly large crowd may attend FIFA matches.
“This is perhaps the biggest day for the sport of soccer in the history of our region,” Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer said. “To be awarded the FIFA World Cup is not only momentous for the city of Seattle, but for all of Washington State and the Pacific Northwest overall.”
Sounders fans believe that “the writing was on the wall” for Seattle to host the World Cup after winning the CONCACAF Champions League.
“Winning CONCACAF showed that MLS as a league is on the rise and Seattle was at the front of that charge,” Sounders Fan Kyle Knaus said to The Center Square. “The Sounders are simply the most dominant club on the continent year after year so Seattle is the perfect city to show the world the pinnacle of American soccer.”
In total, 11 of the 16 cities set to host the FIFA World Cup are in the U.S.. Along with Seattle, World Cup matches will take place in San Francisco, Philadelphia, New York/New Jersey, Miami, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas, Boston and Atlanta.