ATLANTA — Behind Atlanta United’s success and record attendance numbers, Atlanta has grown into one of the hottest soccer cities in the world.
On Thursday, its success paid off in a big way. FIFA announced that Atlanta will be one of 16 cities to host the 2026 World Cup.
The full schedule will be released at a later date.
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FIFA selected the bid as joint host between United States, Mexico and Canada in June 2018.
All of the quarterfinals, semifinals and the World Cup final will be played in the U.S. That’s 60 games total to be split among Atlanta and the other 10 U.S. cities selected: New York/New Jersey, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Boston.
The cities officially selected to host those World Cup matches in Mexico and Canada are: Guadalajara, Monterrey, Mexico City, Toronto and Vancouver. Canada and Mexico will host 10 games each.
“We have the pleasure of celebrating Atlanta’s selection as a host city of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, because of our strong, bipartisan public-private partnerships and many who have been working for years to put Georgia on the map since we hosted the 1996 Olympics,” said Gov. Brian P. Kemp. “This premiere event will have a positive impact on so many hardworking Georgians. Hotels will fill with guests from around the world; restaurants will provide visitors a taste of the South they will not soon forget; attractions across Georgia will welcome those seeking to experience all the Peach State has to offer; and in each interaction, people will see Georgia’s Southern hospitality on full display. The world will be watching as we meet this moment, and we’re proud of all the entities who worked so hard to get us to this point.”
“Atlanta is a soccer town, and we’re excited to bring the game’s best athletes to the world’s best city,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “Atlanta has already been home to the Super Bowl and the Olympics, and through our strong collaboration with the State and our business community, we will welcome folks from all over the world to fill every seat in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2026.”
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Atlanta sports council president Dan Corso has been pitching Atlanta to host for nearly five years.
Corso touted Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta’s hotels, convention space and transportation, which are all centrally located downtown for a massive month long fan-fest. Not to mention an international airport for fans travelling from around the world.
“We are thrilled to bring the world’s biggest sporting event to Atlanta,” Corso said. “Combining the assets of the state’s best public organizations and private companies has been a recipe for success here in Atlanta. We truly believe our city is the country’s premier location to hold a major sporting event and look forward to working with FIFA to create a remarkable experience for all involved.”
“This is an incredible opportunity for the city of Atlanta to continue to show the world what we have to offer,” said Arthur Blank. “Our stadium was built to host world-class events, and we would be honored to continue that tradition in 2026 with the World Cup,” Blank continued. “I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Atlanta World Cup Bid Committee, especially the Atlanta Sports Council, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and our AMBSE leadership team, for their diligent work over the past few years that has led us to today’s announcement. There is still more work to be done, and I look forward to working with our public and private partners, FIFA and our local community to bring these spectacular global games to Atlanta.”
Atlanta is no stranger to hosting large-scale sporting events.
In addition to hosting the historic 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, the city has hosted three Super Bowl games, four NCAA Men’s Final Four tournaments and the SEC Championship game every year since 1994.
Atlanta United’s success has shown that the city not only loves soccer, but the crowds have smashed attendance records since the team started.
The 2026 World Cup will be the first on U.S. soil since the 1994 World Cup.
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