the perfect host city

for the 2026 FIFA World Cup

Denver is a globally connected city with a top international airport, world-class stadium and passionate soccer culture. The Mile High City routinely plays host to major sporting events and is home to seven professional teams.

# 1
U.S. Airport
(Skytrax and Wall Street Journal)
0 +
Colorado soccer participants
# 1
2018 FIFA World Cup viewing market
(Final Match, Adults 25-54)

A Global City

Robust Transportation

With its central location, Denver International Airport (DEN) has one of the largest domestic networks in the U.S., with nonstop service to more than 200 destinations. Airfares are typically lower than the national average. DEN was named the best airport in the nation at the 2019 Skytrax World Airport Awards and received similar honors by the Wall Street Journal in 2018.  In the last few years, DEN has added nonstop flights to Tokyo, Paris, London, Reykjavik, Zurich, Panama City and Calgary, joining routes to Munich, Frankfurt and beyond. The international roster now includes 26 nonstop destinations and double-digit growth in international capacity.

And it’s only getting better. DEN is in the middle of an aggressive construction project that will add nearly 40 gates between the three concourses over the next few years and is expanding its Great Hall, which will vastly improve the customer experience, all scheduled for completion well before 2026.

Getting from the airport to downtown Denver is easy, thanks to airport rail service known as the A Line. The train whisks passengers to the city’s transportation hub, Denver Union Station. From there, taxi, bus, light rail and ride-sharing services are available. Free electric buses called the MallRide run up and down 16th Street through the heart of the city, providing convenient access to a myriad of hotels, offering more than 11,000 rooms in the downtown area alone.

Walkable Downtown

Denver is well known for its walkability and Lower Downtown Denver (LoDo) is one of the hottest parts of the city. This historic neighborhood has been completely restored and renovated over the years, featuring dozens of entertainment, shopping and cultural options, plus sports bars and some of the city’s finest chef-owned restaurants. LoDo is a short walk from Empower Field at Mile High. The stadium sits just outside the heart of the city, home to international restaurants, famous music venues and intimate bars and clubs.

World-Class Stadium

Empower Field at Mile High has entertained millions of fans since its opening in 2001. While it might be known for American football, it has hosted everything from the 2008 Democratic National Convention to opening night of the 2011 U2 360 North American Tour to several international soccer matches. The stadium is upgrading its lighting, specifically for FIFA compliance, in addition to other improvements.

Notable Denver Events

2019 USWNT vs. Australia
2017 World Cup Soccer Qualifer USMNT vs. Trinidad and Tobago
2013, 2017 and 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Matches
Credit: Marc Piscotty
2016 NHL Stadium Series
Credit: Noah Graham for Getty Images
2015 MLS All Star Game
2014 A.S. Roma vs. Manchester United
2014 BMW Championship
Credit: Stan Badz for Getty Images
2014 World Lacrosse Championship
2012 NCAA Women’s Final Four
Credit: Justin Edmonds for Getty Images
2008 Democratic National Convention
2008 NCAA NCAA Hockey Frozen Four
Credit: Doug Pensinger for Getty Images
2001 NHL All Star Game
Credit: Brian Bahr for Getty Images
1998 MLB All Star Game
1997 G8 Summit
Credit: The Asahi Shimbun for Getty Images

With Great Soccer Culture

Denver Loves Playing Soccer

Denver is committed to building a sustainable soccer culture for the future. Since 1978, the Colorado Soccer Association, the governing body for the sport in the state, has inspired generations of players, coaches and fans. It now has nearly 70,000 members and is uniting diverse cultures from around the world that share a deep appreciation for the beautiful game.

Thanks to Denver’s mild weather, there are pick-up games in various parks and athletic fields for all ages year-round. Coloradans love the outdoors.

Denver also fosters diversity. The International Heritage Cup Denver is an annual World Cup-style tournament at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. It promotes outreach and unity within the metro area’s immigrant, refugee and urban communities through the game of soccer. Founded in 2011, mostly adult players, including pros like Phillip Boampong and Tesho Akindele, join teams representing various countries. The tournament takes place during the last weekend in July.

Denver Loves Watching Soccer

Without question, Denver is one of the strongest soccer viewing markets in the country, ranking sixth in overall viewership for the 2018 FIFA World Cup final. Denver was the top viewing market among the key adults 18-49 and 25-54 age groups, and No. 2 in the men 25-54 age group.

Local soccer fans get especially excited when the MLS’s Colorado Rapids, play their annual Fourth of July games, followed by a fireworks display, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

At the college level, the University of Denver Pioneers men’s and women’s teams compete at the Division 1 NCAA level in thrilling matches. Many of those players go on to professional teams.

Watch parties for international soccer are tremendously popular. In Denver, fans love to congregate at The British Bulldog, a pub which opens early on weekends to televise European matches.

Denver Loves Hosting Soccer

Denver has hosted several international soccer matches such as the Mexico national team, A.S. Roma vs. Manchester United F.C. in 2014, CONCACAF Gold Cup matches in 2013, 2017 and 2019 and a sold-out game between the U.S. women’s national team and Australia in 2019. The Colorado Rapids will host Arsenal F.C. on July 15, 2019.

Denver is one of 23 North American cities vying to serve as a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. FIFA will ultimately choose up to 16 host cities. In FIFA’s Bid Evaluation Report that looked at each candidate city, Denver took the top spot for stadium readiness, tied for seventh for robust accommodations and tied for sixth for ease of transportation.

Denver + soccer = a proven winner!