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Seattle selected as one of 32 potential host cities for 2026 FIFA World Cup

SEATTLE, WASH. – The United Bid Committee announced today the 32 cities across North America that could serve as Official Host Cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. The 32 potential host cities include four cities in Canada, three in Mexico and 25 cities in the United States. Seattle Sounders FC and the Seattle Sports Commission worked together to submit a joint bid to the United Bid Committee on behalf of the city of Seattle. The United Bid Committee also confirmed it will continue engaging with non-host cities in the further development of the united hosting concept.

“As we move to the next stage of the bid process, we’re even more confident we have everything needed to deliver the largest, most compelling FIFA World Cup™ in history and help accelerate the growth of soccer across North America and around the world,” said United Bid Chairman Sunil Gulati. “We have more than double the number of cities required to stage matches in 2026. We have a vision for growing the game and engaging fans as never before. Our biggest challenge will be finding ways to honor the enthusiasm of all the people across Canada, Mexico and the United States through the development of our united hosting concept.”

During the next stage of the bid process, the United Bid Committee will integrate the 32 potential host cities in to the united bid strategy and vision, as well as work with local officials to finalize the hosting documents required by FIFA. Representatives from the 32 potential host cities will travel to Houston, Texas during the week of November 13th for a working session with the United Bid Committee team.

“We received applications from 41 cities across Canada, Mexico and the United States and narrowed the list down after a comprehensive review of each of the communities and facilities. The 32 cities that we have identified as potential host cities, on their own and together, are prepared to welcome soccer fans from around the world. They are more than capable of helping fulfill the shared vision and ambition of FIFA, and the United Bid in shaping the future of soccer in North America,” said John Kristick, Executive Director of the United Bid Committee. “While not every city will move forward as a potential host city, we were so impressed by all the applicants that we will continue to engage with all the cities as part of our hosting strategy and we will welcome the opportunity to work with FIFA to further expand our hosting concept to ensure the broadest possible impact for this spectacular event.”

The Official Host City selection process takes into account various factors such as city profile, stadium and support facilities (training sites, hotels) and services (e.g., transportation). The United Bid Committee also looked at ways each city could contribute to a united hosting strategy for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ including their contribution to the sport's development and the United Bid’s vision – not only during the tournament, but in the eight-year build up and the social, economic, and environmental legacy.

“When we made the move to join Major League Soccer nearly 10 years ago, our mission was to reward the city of Seattle for being one of the richest soccer communities in the country,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer, who also serves as Honorary Chair of the Seattle Bid Committee. “It’s been a dream of ours to help bring the World Cup to the Pacific Northwest, and today we moved one step closer to our goal. We look forward to continuing this process to bring the world’s biggest competition to the people of the Emerald City.”

Each of the 32 potential host cities features existing or already planned stadiums and other world-class infrastructure, meeting or exceeding the requirements outlined by FIFA. Additionally, the potential host cities reflect the vast geographic and cultural diversity of North America and share a commitment to using the once-in-a-generation opportunity of hosting the FIFA World Cup™ to welcome, entertain, inspire and empower the next generation of players and fans as never before.

“Seattle is an ideal destination for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Our city showcases a premier stadium, spectacular summer weather and the greatest soccer atmosphere in the United States,” said Ralph Morton, Executive Director of the Seattle Sports Commission. “We are very fortunate to be able to partner with Sounders FC, who are the experts when it comes to creating the best experience for players and fans in soccer.”

The United Bid Committee will also continue engaging with the nine cities that are not advancing to the next stage of the candidate host city process. Those cities, along with others, are being considered as possible locations for Team Base Camps or other competition-related events leading up to the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. Further, if entrusted with the 2026 FIFA World Cup™, the United Bid Committee plans to work closely with FIFA to explore ways to extend the plans for fan engagement to include all communities across the three host countries – and is already encouraging business and civic leaders, fans, and others to contribute their new and innovative ideas to be integrated into the United Bid’s hosting concept.

UNITED STATES

Atlanta, Georgia

Baltimore, Maryland

Boston, Massachusetts

Charlotte, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Chicago, Illinois

Dallas, Texas

Denver, Colorado

Detroit, Michigan

Houston, Texas

Kansas City, Missouri

Las Vegas, Nevada

Los Angeles, California

Miami, Florida

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nashville, Tennessee

New York, New York

Orlando, Florida

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Phoenix, Arizona

Salt Lake City, Utah

San Francisco, California

Seattle, Washington

Tampa, Florida

Washington, DC

CANADA

Edmonton, Alberta

Montréal, Québec

Toronto, Ontario

Vancouver, British Columbia

MEXICO

Guadalajara, Jalisco

Mexico City, Mexico

Monterrey, Nuevo León

The following cities were not selected as Host City candidates to be included as part of the United Bid: Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonville, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Ottawa, Ontario; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Regina, Saskatchewan; San Antonio, Texas.

ABOUT THE UNITED BID COMMITTEE

The United Bid Committee was created by the National Federations of Canada, Mexico and the United States to manage the bidding process for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. Robert Kraft serves as Honorary Chairman of the United Bid Committee Board of Directors. Sunil Gulati is Chairman of the United Bid Committee Board of Directors, which includes representatives of the three North American soccer federations. The Executive Director of the United Bid Committee is John Kristick.

ABOUT THE 2026 FIFA WORLD CUP™

The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the first tournament with the expanded 48-team format and will require world-class facilities and infrastructure to ensure a successful tournament. The United Bid of Canada, Mexico and the United States is uniquely suited to accommodate FIFA’s high-level standards for hosting a FIFA World Cup™. If the United Bid is selected by FIFA as the host for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™, at least 12 cities will be selected as venues for games. Canada, Mexico and the United States also have a long and successful history as hosts -13 FIFA World Cups have been hosted Canada, Mexico and the United States, five of which set attendance records.

ABOUT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

Winner of the 2016 MLS Cup, 2014 MLS Supporters' Shield and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships (2009, 2010, 2011, 2014), Sounders FC is Seattle's Major League Soccer franchise. With an ownership group led by Seattle-based entrepreneur Adrian Hanauer, Hollywood executive Joe Roth, Seattle Seahawks Chairman Paul G. Allen and entertainer Drew Carey, the club received an MLS charter on November 13, 2007 and has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in every year of its existence. In 2016, Sounders FC reached a milestone as the franchise claimed its first MLS Cup championship with a road victory over Toronto FC. Since the club's debut MLS season in 2009, Sounders FC has set the standard for soccer support in North America by leading the league in attendance each year. Prior to joining MLS, the Seattle Sounders organization has been a part of the greater Seattle community and U.S. Soccer professional scene since 1974.

ABOUT THE SEATTLE SPORTS COMMISSION

The Seattle Sports Commission (SSC), a division of Visit Seattle, is committed to making Seattle a world-class sports community. Sports have the opportunity to bring the world to Seattle and bring our region together. A strong sports culture can strengthen local businesses, local kids and local pride. http://www.seattlesports.org

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