LA Eyes Bid to Host 2026 World Cup Soccer Matches

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Los Angeles is flirting with the idea of hosting the 2026 World Cup soccer tournament, ahead of its hosting duties for the Summer Olympics in 2028.

On Tuesday, city officials said hosting the soccer tournament would be a boon to the local economy with construction jobs and the tourism the international event would bring. The eight years leading up to the event would bring LA and other possible U.S. host cities into an international spotlight as well.

“The spirit of soccer is so fitting for the city of Los Angeles, where so many are welcome,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino on Tuesday. “The potential benefits would be felt from the valley to the waterfront.”

At the request of the City Council, the city’s legislative analyst, city attorney and several tourism and sports commissions will review the impact of hosting such an event. That includes looking at infrastructure, traffic, tourism and other factors.

Hosting the World Cup is not the same as hosting the Summer Olympics, city officials said at a budget meeting last month. While a single city plays host to the Olympic Games, many cities across North America will see World Cup games – including 25 U.S. cities, four in Canada and three in Mexico.

The U.S. Soccer Federation named 25 cities that could host if the World Cup’s governing body FIFA selects North America. In addition to LA, the cities chosen include Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami and several others.

Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Monterrey would host in Mexico and Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver would host in Canada.

FIFA will announce its decision in June.

According to Buscaino, Los Angeles saw an economic windfall of $4 billion when it hosted the 1994 Men’s World Cup. In 1999, the city hosted the Women’s World Cup.

Ambitiously, Los Angeles could also throw its hat to be the World Cup 2026’s media hub for all national and international news outlets.

“FIFA estimates a potential direct impact for the (media) host of more than $80 million,” according to Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson.

Meanwhile, the LA Football Club’s 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium is expected to open later this year in Exposition Park, the site of the former Memorial Sports Arena which hosted several events during the 1984 Summer Olympics.

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