Seattle is among 2026 World Cup host cities

Lumen Field at night during the CONCACAF Champions League final

Lumen Field had 69,000 fans show up to the CONCACAF Champions League Final. | Photo by Rod Mar via the Sounders

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We’re having a ball, Seattle. FIFA officially chose the Emerald City as one of the 16 sites to host the 2026 World Cup across three countries (US, Mexico + Canada).

Seattle has been working on this gooooalll for a long time. In fact, the effort to get the World Cup dates back more than 30 years when the city initially tried to get in on the 1994 action. That effort fell short, but ultimately kicked off a stronger soccer culture with the formation of the Sounders + OL Reign — and, of course, Lumen Field as a crown jewel venue.

Now, the whole world will arrive in just four short years — and we’re here to answer some burning questions.

⚽ What does “hosting” entail? Prepping finger foods?

In terms of magnitude, think of it as Seattle getting the Olympics or Super Bowl — only it lasts a full month. Lumen Field will be the center of everything, likely hosting at least four games through the World Cup’s group stage and knockout rounds — and not to mention all the related events + activities. Lumen will have to install temporary natural grass and the Sounders’ in-the-works training facility out in Renton will need to clear land for more fields. It helps that our Canadian neighbor to the north, Vancouver, is another host city, for logistics.

“No American city has embraced the sport of soccer like the City of Seattle,” said Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. “And today’s exciting and historic announcement leaves no doubt that Seattle is in a special class of primetime destination, more than ready to host the biggest soccer event on planet Earth.”

⚽ Wait, what if I’m not into soccer?

That’s totally okay — we won’t judge. But an event of this magnitude will impact just about everything, from traffic to development to local beer specials. It’s estimated that hosting a World Cup could deliver $90-480 million to each city’s economy, even after all the costs are factored in. Downtown restaurants + other biz will no doubt see a boom, and every one of those 15,000 hotel rooms near Lumen Field could be booked solid.

⚽ Okay, cool — I’m in. What now?

Well, just sit tight, because we’ve still got a few years to prep. But if you want to start really getting your kicks, be sure to check out a Sounders or Reign match this summer — there’s even a hot, new semi-pro club in Ballard playing at Interbay Stadium. And, of course, follow the USMNT’s upcoming 2022 World Cup run, with Sounders stars Jordan Morris + Christian Roldan currently on the roster. Scarves up.

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