Atlanta leaders say World Cup could mean big bucks for the city

ATLANTA — The World Cup is coming to North America in 2026. Atlanta leaders told Channel 2's Dave Huddleston the city has a good chance to host one of the semifinal games, especially with the newly built Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council, said the economic impact could be huge.

"The United Bid Committee came out and said hosting it across the three countries will be $5 billion.

Billion with a 'B,'" he said.

Corso hopes the Capitol City would get some of those billions by being selected as a host city.

"I would imagine a piece of a $5 billion pie is a pretty good piece of pie," he said.

Darren Eales, president of Major League Soccer team Atlanta United, said Atlanta not only has a good chance to host a semi-final game, but also being named the broadcast center for the entire 2026 World Cup.

"It's hugely exciting," he said.


Pictures of the committee on its site visit in April show the members on tours at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Children's Healthcare Training Ground where Atlanta United practices.

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 26: Fans enter the gates prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 26, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

"There are 23 cities. They will narrow down to 16, but Atlanta and our passion for soccer, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the fact that we've hosted big events like the Super Bowl and the Olympics means we are pretty much front and center of the bid."

The Atlanta Sports Council said it could be at least 18 to 24 months before we know which cities will be the host the 2026 games.

In the meantime, Atlanta is hosting the Major League Soccer All-Star Game on August 1.