It has been almost exactly four years since the United States, Canada and Mexico gained the proper to host the 2026 World Cup. Ever since then, Seattle has been thought-about one in all the favorites to have video games. On June 16, we’ll lastly discover out if we’re chosen.
Whether you’ve been following this story all alongside or are simply tuning in, we suspect you might have quite a lot of questions. Let’s see if we are able to reply some:
Although there have been some twists and turns alongside the approach, what began as a listing of about 70 cities, was ultimately pared right down to 23 cities and now stands at 22. Three of these cities are in Canada (Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver), three are in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey) and the different 16 are in the United States. Joining Seattle are Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, DC/Baltimore.
Montreal was initially one in all the Canadian cities listed and was finally changed by Vancouver, who solely just lately was formally added. Washington, DC and Baltimore have been additionally initially bidding individually however mixed after FedEx Field was deemed inadequate. If that bid is profitable, video games would be played at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium whereas fanfest actions would probably be in DC.
I’ve all the time thought that having a second metropolis in the Pacific Northwest would be a great factor and recent reporting by Grant Wahl backs up that notion. Logistically, it is sensible a ton of sense since every crew will solely play two group-stage video games and would by no means need to journey very far.
Basically, each checklist created by anybody who significantly follows these things has included Seattle as a possible host. This remains to be FIFA, so something is feasible, however it’s going to be thought-about a fairly large upset if Seattle isn’t chosen.
The huge one is our soccer tradition. One solely wants to have a look at the Concacaf Champions League closing as proof. Nearly 69,000 individuals confirmed up for that sport on a Wednesday evening, simply setting a match report. And it’s not simply followers, both. When Seattle hosted the World Cup delegates earlier this 12 months, there have been dozens of reporters readily available. Virtually each TV and radio station in the area, to talk nothing of internet sites like ours, understands the relevancy of the World Cup. If any metropolis can be anticipated to attract crowds and media consideration for Denmark-Tunisia (to select a random matchup from the subsequent World Cup), it’s Seattle.
Beyond that, we’ve received a ton going for us from a sturdy vacationer infrastructure (there are practically 50,000 lodge rooms in the area, with about 15,000 inside strolling distance of Lumen Field); shortly increasing public transit (you’ll be in a position to take mild rail north to Lynnwood, south to Federal Way and east to Redmond by then); and plentiful coaching amenities (the Sounders could have simply opened their new headquarters at Longacres and there’s already first-rate spots like Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Starfire, the University of Washington and Seattle University).
It’s true, right there on the landing page for those who click on on the first hyperlink after googling “World Cup 2026.” While clearly not a foul signal, it ought to be famous that’s been there since not less than final summer time and doesn’t appear reflective of any new developments. Curiously, it’s additionally a very previous photograph from a Celtic-Manchester United pleasant in 2003. Apropos of nothing, it’s a humorous time capsule of types for every little thing from a really totally different skyline, to the title of the stadium to an advert for a long-defunct clothes retailer.
In latest tournaments, FIFA has often chosen 8-12 cities, relying on a wide range of components (though there have been 20 chosen when South Korea and Japan shared internet hosting duties in 2002). But that was additionally earlier than they expanded the area to 48 groups, which is able to be the case in 2026. That might depart us with anyplace between 14-20 host cities, with 8-14 of these being in the United States. It would make a certain quantity of sense to have 16 cities for 16 teams.
There will be 48 groups unfold out into 16 three-team teams. The groups will play simply two group-stage video games with the prime two groups from every group advancing to the Round of 32. The whole variety of video games being played will increase from 64 to 80, however the finalists will nonetheless play simply seven video games over 32 days, the approach it’s now.
The minimal might be 4, with as many as three in the group stage and as few as one in the knockout spherical. Most observers appear to assume Seattle might probably be in line to host video games as late as the quarterfinals, however in all probability not any later than that.
You’ve in all probability heard that FIFA is demanding that each sport be played on a grass floor and Seattle undoubtedly doesn’t have grass. But that’s true for 2 of Canada’s bids (Vancouver and Edmonton) in addition to seven of the different U.S. bid cities. The level being that there are assured to be video games played in stadiums that usually function a man-made floor. All of the potential host venues have agreed to put in grass for the World Cup. Only Gillette Stadium has promised to tear up their present area to put in everlasting grass, whereas others have provided FIFA assurances that they’ll give you one thing acceptable. In any case, the Sea 2026 committee doesn’t seem to think this will be a problem.
Lumen Field is a bit older and smaller than lots of the different stadiums in the working. It’s additionally totally attainable that Seattle metropolis officers aren’t keen to provide the similar type of “tax breaks” that others are. Aside from that, I’m actually undecided what’s to not like.
There will be lots of people right here, which is able to absolutely result in some crowding we’re not all the time accustomed to. And these individuals might be right here for the higher a part of a month. I think about that it will be a foul time to induce out-of-town friends to remain in inns or leases. Lines at the native espresso outlets will in all probability be longer and getting a reservation at your favourite restaurant will in all probability be more durable. There’s additionally a great likelihood that we’re going to see an elevated police presence, which might very effectively result in some knock-on results like homeless sweeps or “petty” crime enforcement. I don’t need to get into the good or unhealthy nature of these issues, however assume it’s essential to acknowledge that some individuals will be adversely affected.
On prime of every little thing, simply coping with FIFA shouldn’t be nice. This is a famously problematic group and one in all the causes that a number of cities dropped out of consideration was only a common distaste of coping with them.
I used to be somewhat shocked to find that there are literally reasonably affordable tickets available for this year’s World Cup, lower than $15 for some group-stage video games. I don’t assume we’ll get that fortunate. When the Copa America Centenario was played right here in 2016, the least expensive tickets have been nearer to $50 and went up dramatically from there. That’s the low finish of what I’d count on for this occasion and gained’t be shocked for those who’ll be pressured to purchase multi-game packages that value much like what you spend on Sounders season-tickets. Hope I’m fallacious!
One factor we all know will occur if Seattle is chosen as a number is that there’ll be a Fan Fest the place followers can watch lots of the video games. The plan is for that to be on the refurbished waterfront, one thing that’s presently in the technique of being constructed. Aside from that, it’s going to in all probability be a boon for native companies. It’s not but clear how Sounders followers will straight profit, however I’m holding out hope for this to facilitate some upgrades to Lumen Field like everlasting locker rooms for the soccer groups, extra digital signage that permits it to really feel like a house stadium for tenants apart from the Seahawks, and, heck, perhaps that grass area will stick round, too. A boy can dream!
I gained’t converse for you and I undoubtedly perceive the argument in opposition to it, however I do need video games. My pondering is that for those who’re going to be watching video games anyway, might as effectively have them someplace the place you may bask in a few of the actual advantages, too. I’ve been in love with Seattle ever since I moved right here in 2009 and am genuinely excited to share it with the world. Even if I don’t cowl the video games as a journalist, I feel I’ll enthusiastically attend as a fan and am already fantasizing about spending random afternoons with my spouse and daughters at the Fan Fest.