When Seattle hosts the FIFA World Cup 2026, it will be about more than just the games at Lumen Field.
The pinnacle of global soccer, the World Cup in Seattle represents a generational opportunity to honor the fans that have helped grow the game over the past 50 years. The official Seattle FIFA Fan Fest, set to be located in the renovated Waterfront Park at Pier 62/63, will operate every day of the tournament, celebrating the rich history of support for soccer in our city in an accessible fashion.
“We have an obligation to put on the best Fan Fest party in the entire country,” said Sounders FC Chief Operating Officer Maya Mendoza-Exstrom. “That’s our goal. There is not a better place to do that than at the central waterfront in Seattle.
“It’s the intersection of the natural world and the highly walkable streets with lots of ground-floor businesses. It’s so connected to the downtown core where people might be staying, but it’s also walkable to Lumen Field. It was really important to us that the fan experience showcase this new front doorstep to Seattle and that it be connected by biking, by walking and by using public transit.”
The Fan Fest at Waterfront Park will serve as the perfect snapshot of Seattle, bringing people from all over the world together and introducing them to the scenic beauty and rich tapestry of local businesses that serve as the backbone of our community.
“It’s the best vehicle to bring people together in a major way, and to do it in a fashion that showcases the aspirational best versions of ourselves here in Seattle,” said Mendoza-Exstrom. “As we come out of this pandemic, that soccer has a way to convene the world here in such a meaningful way is pretty inspiring.”
It’s an exciting time to be a soccer fan in Seattle. After becoming the first MLS side to win the Concacaf Champions League, the Sounders will participate in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2023, followed by the launch of the Sounders FC Center at Longacres and the club’s 50th anniversary in 2024.
Ultimately, the FIFA World Cup 2026 in Seattle is a celebration of the fans that have helped put Seattle soccer culture on the international stage. From selling out MLS Cup in 2019 to setting records with over 68,000 at Lumen Field for the Concacaf Champions League Final, hosting the biggest sporting event on the planet is a just reward for soccer fans in our city.
“It is because of our fans,” GM & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said of Seattle’s successful bid. “The incredible showing we had for the continental championship, the incredible feeling that we had for MLS Cup – those are two events that you just don’t have the ability to stage anywhere else in the United States. [They were] authentic and part of just the normal process of being a fan.”
According to Chief Revenue Officer Taylor Graham, those two indelible Sounders matches serve as proof of concept that Seattle is ready to supply a world-class experience in 2026.
“Those moments, I believe, articulate the passion of our community for the sport of soccer, and the ability to mobilize for big moments,” he said. “And to do so in ways that unite our community, bringing people together in a safe and positive fashion.”
SPEND YOUR SUMMER WITH THE CHAMPS
A Concacaf Champions League celebration, theme matches, and a long home stretch make Sounders matches at Lumen Field your perfect Seattle summer destination.
While Seattle will serve as the centerpiece for fan experiences, the 2026 World Cup will provide ample opportunities for fans across the state of Washington to engage in this once-in-a-lifetime event. Guided by the principle of accessibility, the World Cup will serve as a transformational moment for every resident of the Pacific Northwest.
“The World Cup coming to this region is just more than those who are able to attend games at Lumen Field,” added Graham. “It is taking into account not only the most iconic Fan Fest location on the waterfront and the waterfront redevelopment, but it’s the satellite pop-ups and viewing parties that we can go into multiple communities to make sure that this sport and this tournament is accessible to as many people as possible with the hopes of growing the game.”
A key component of the fan experience will center on ease of movement and exploring everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
“While Seattle is the host city, this is a regional and statewide event,” said Mendoza-Exstrom. “We’re going to want to encourage folks to get into metro electric vehicles and go experience the mountains. We’re going to want to make sure that individuals stay here because it’s an amazing experience, and that they live here in a way that is aligned with the values and culture of our part of the world”
From the Canadian border to the southern edge of Washington, and from the coast to east of the Cascade mountains, the 2026 World Cup is going to be a celebration of soccer and the people who have made the game part of our region’s DNA.