World Cup FAQs
The Men’s World Cup is the most-watched sporting event in the world. Every four years, more than 3.5 billion people watch as teams from around the world compete in the Men’s World Cup (for perspective, the NFL’s Super Bowl draws about 150 million viewers worldwide). The tournament is organized by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s global governing body. FIFA also organizes the Women’s World Cup every four years.
For Denver, the World Cup is an exciting opportunity for Colorado and Rocky Mountain residents to experience truly world-class soccer, to showcase our city to a global audience and to welcome soccer fans from all over the world to enjoy our many amenities.
It’s a huge honor to host such a prestigious, global event. Soccer is a sport for people of all backgrounds, and it’s growing in the U.S. and Denver. Hosting the World Cup would be an inspiration to thousands of sports fans in The Mile High City, especially our passionate sports and youth communities; and it would allow the state’s millions of sports fans an opportunity to experience world-class soccer up close in their own city.
Hosting would also create an enormous economic boom for the Denver metro area and many of its businesses.
Additionally, Denver has the experience and infrastructure in place to host these games. We want to open our doors to an international audience, expanding our global reputation and creating future opportunities to drive a vibrant, diverse community here at home.
Events like the World Cup allow us to utilize existing investments in venues, hotels and other infrastructure for additional gains. Local businesses benefit from increased foot traffic, and tourists’ spending generates increased tax revenue for residents to benefit from long after the event leaves town.
We have the experience and infrastructure in place to successfully host World Cup games in 2026. Denver has hosted other large-scale sporting and public events, including the MLS, MLB, NBA and NHL All-Star games; World Series games; NHL Stanley Cup games; the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Final Fours; the NCAA Frozen Four; the Democratic National Convention, the G8 Summit and Pope John Paul’s World Youth Day.
What’s more, Denver hosts other large events targeted to diverse audiences like Denver PrideFest, one of the top 10 pride events in the country, and Denver’s Cinco de Mayo Festival, one of the country’s largest festivals celebrating Cinco de Mayo – among many others.
These events demonstrate that Denver can execute the highest-profile events for a world audience.
Denver has also hosted a number of international soccer games over the past few years, such as:
- 2019 Colorado Rapids vs. Arsenal
- 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A
- 2019 US. Women’s National Team vs. Australia
- 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C
- 2017 U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Trinidad and Tobago
- 2016 U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Japan
- 2015 MLS All-Star Game
- 2014 Manchester United vs. A.S. Roma
- 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A
In June 2018, FIFA awarded the 2026 World Cup to a joint North American bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico. While it will not be decided until early in 2021 which North American cities will be selected as hosts, Denver is among those being considered. The Colorado Soccer Association, VISIT DENVER and the Denver Sports Commission, along with other stakeholders, are all coordinating efforts to bring the World Cup to our city.
The bid is a hugely competitive process with 23 cities from three countries vying for up to 16 spots.
Denver already has the infrastructure in place to host World Cup games, and we host events of this magnitude quite frequently. In fact, for comparison’s sake, the annual National Western Stock Show and Rodeo attracted about 701,000 ticketed spectators over the course of the 16-day event in Denver in 2019.
Events of the scale of the World Cup bring visitors to the city who then spend money and leave – paying taxes that residents would otherwise have to and creating jobs for residents.
The last time the United States hosted a World Cup (1994), the average attendance for the matches was nearly 70,000 people. This type of tourism drives economic vitality and generates new jobs. Local residents enjoy an exciting atmosphere, supplemental events and activities, increased business traffic and much more. Plus, the local economy can expect an economic impact of $360 million, according to Boston Consulting Group.
A majority of the cities that hosted in 1994 are back in the bid process again, indicating the value and benefit they realized from hosting in 1994.
Serving as a host city for World Cup games would put an international spotlight on Denver and Colorado, both of which benefit significantly from tourism.
The Denver 2026 Bid Committee is comprised of a diverse group of community members with a common interest in galvanizing the game of soccer in Denver and throughout Colorado. The Colorado Soccer Association, with its nearly 70,000 members, has been playing an integral role in mobilizing soccer enthusiasts to bring the 2026 FIFA World CUPTM to Denver.
Over the course of the next year and a half, this Denver 2026 leadership will work with many communities and stakeholders all over the state to highlight Denver’s history of hosting high-profile events and to create a multi-faceted operation plan for an event of this caliber.
The team will focus on several key elements that will showcase a model for success. This effort will concentrate on the following subjects: Stadium & Venues, Lodging & Accommodations, Sponsors/Partnerships, Human Rights, Legacy Projects, Security & City Capabilities, Sustainability, Transportation & Mobility, Fan Fest, Communications, and Community Engagement.
We don’t know the timeline at this point. It has been reported that the final North American host cities could be announced as late as 2021.