DC, Baltimore merge bids to host FIFA World Cup 2026 events

Baltimore and D.C. have announced a joint bid to host soccer matches and fan events during the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

In a news release, Events DC and the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland announced they had merged their bids to be among the several American, Canadian and Mexican cities lending venues to United 2026, which will see all three nations stage the World Cup together.

It will be the first time the World Cup will include 48 qualifying teams, up from the traditional 32, and the first World Cup since 2002 to be hosted by more than one country.

“We are thrilled to team up with our sister city to bring the FIFA World Cup 2026 to the sports capital,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We know that the Washington-Baltimore bid is a winning bid. We’re a sports city, we’re a soccer city, and people from across the nation and around the world will want to be in and near D.C. in the summer of 2026 when we celebrate our nation’s 250th birthday.”



Under the joint bid, all matches would be played at Baltimore’s recently-renovated M&T Bank Stadium. Meanwhile, D.C. would organize a flagship FIFA Fan Festival on the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue — an event that city officials estimate would bring over a million attendees to the national’s capital, held in conjunction with the United States’ 250th anniversary celebration around July 4.

“I am extremely excited to join forces with the District of Columbia to strengthen our bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2026,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. “Mayor Bowser and I want to ensure we give our cities the best opportunity to win this major event which will provide massive economic boosts for both urban centers.”

FIFA delegations have been visiting candidate host cities since last September, including a visit to D.C., and seek to finalize the selection process this summer.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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