Philadelphia is one step closer in its bid to be selected as a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The Philadelphia World Cup bid committee announced Tuesday that it had secured $2 million in grants to support the city’s bid efforts, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. The grants were awarded by the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, the Philadelphia Hospitality and Investment Levy, and the Philadelphia Union.
The city is offering Lincoln Financial Field, the home stadium of the Philadelphia Eagles, as a venue for the World Cup. The field can seat over 69,000 people and has hosted several high-profile soccer events in the past, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2003 and the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2019.
Penn Board of Trustees Chair and chair of the city's bid committee David Cohen spoke at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia Mayoral Luncheon, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported.
“Few, if any, U.S. cities bidding have the major event pedigree that Philadelphia now has," Cohen said to the crowd.
The city has previously hosted other large events, including the 2016 Democratic National Convention and the 2017 NFL draft, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.
The United States, Canada, and Mexico were selected as the nations to host the World Cup, but only 10 U.S. cities will be permitted to host matches, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. Currently, 17 U.S. cities are competing to win their World Cup bids. Cities will be evaluated on a variety of criteria based on infrastructure and commercial factors, such as the facilities available at the stadium and the costs of the event, according to FIFA policy.
If Philadelphia wins its bid for 2026, it will host at least five matches of the World Cup, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. Serving as a host would generate approximately $70 million in spending by 450,000 tourists, according to estimates from the Boston Consulting Group.
The 10 U.S. host cities are expected to be decided by 2021.
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