News

Philly believes it can win hosting rights for 2026 men's World Cup

Written by Tom MacDonald/WHYY | Jun 25, 2019 5:38 AM
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FILE PHOTO: France's Antoine Griezmann, right, celebrates after scoring a penalty kick during the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

(Philadelphia) -- Philadelphia is one of 23 cities vying for a chance to host men's World Cup soccer matches in 2026.

Now a city heavyweight is chairing the effort.

David L. Cohen of Comcast has been tapped to head the committee trying to bring World Cup games to Philadelphia.

'We are a city that loves big events we thrive on them and we know how to execute them and we give all of our visitors players, press visitors a fantastic experience in our city and that's what our sales pitch is going to be plain and simple."

The 2026 version of the men's World Cup will be different, co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.  Some 60 games are expected to be played in the U.S.

Cohen said the World Cup is one of the greatest global sporting events, and the group is excited to show FIFA, and the world, how Philadelphia can deliver on the biggest of stages.

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Mayor Jim Kenney says Philadelphia want to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup (provided by Mayor's office)

Julie Coker-Graham of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau says bringing the worlds biggest soccer players to town would be another big event success for the city.

"As a city and a region we are proud to have an unprecedented run of major events, over the past five years we have hosted the papal visit, the [Democratic National Convention] and the NFL Draft, all to rave reviews," she said.

In 2003, women's World Cup games were played at Lincoln Financial Field at the last minute when the tournament was relocated to the U.S. from China.

Since the bid process began in 2017, a number of partners have been working behind the scenes putting Philadelphia in a position to be a World Cup host city, including the City of Philadelphia, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Union, Eastern PA Youth Soccer, Playmakers Group, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, and its business development division, PHL Sports.

The region is already going to be on the sports map in 2026. Citizens Bank Park will host Major League Baseball's all-star game and golf's PGA Championship will play at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania that year.

Those behind the bid say the Philadelphia region boasts a competitive, large event package including the country's 4th largest media market, close proximity to other East Coast hubs, easy access to public transit, lots of hotel rooms and a 70,000-seat stadium with a tremendous track record as a soccer host, among other key assets.

WHYY is the leading public media station serving the Philadelphia region, including Delaware, South Jersey and Pennsylvania. This story originally appeared on WHYY.org.

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