Bay Area launches final bid to host 2026 World Cup Games at Levi’s Stadium with FIFA visit – CBS San Francisco

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – Bay Area’s bid to host World Cup football matches in 2026 gets a final push from Friday with a visit by FIFA officials at Levi’s Stadium to assess the stadium’s and region’s capabilities.

The Bay Area Host Committee for the World Cup bid will welcome a delegation from FIFA, US Soccer and CONCACAF – the governing body of football for North and Central America and the Caribbean – for two days from Friday. The mayors of San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco, along with representatives from the San Francisco 49ers and Bay Area companies such as Salesforce, Google, Airbnb and Visa, will also be present to showcase the Bay Area as a natural fit to host the majority. popular sporting event in the world.

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In 2026, the World Cup will be played in the United States, Canada and Mexico, the first time the tournament hosts three nations. Bay Area, with Levi’s Stadium as the proposed venue, is one of the U.S. finalists seeking hosting rights to the tournament’s games.

Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo # 1 from Chile dives after a shot that goes wide against Argentina during the 2016 Copa America Centenario Group match between Argentina and Chile at Levi’s Stadium on June 6, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

The 16 host cities in the United States, Mexico and Canada are expected to be announced in early 2022 among 22 cities under consideration across the three countries. Ten U.S. cities will host 60 matches, including the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals played at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Canada and Mexico host 10 matches each.

The 2026 World Cup will feature 48 teams, up from the 32 teams that will compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Bay Area hosted the 1994 World Cup matches at Stanford Stadium during the only other men’s world championship to host the US Stanford Stadium also hosted a semifinal match during the 1999 World Cup for women.

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Since opening in 2014, Levi’s Stadium has hosted several international football matches and major sporting events, including the Copa America 2016, the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 and the Super Bowl 50. The largest football audience at Levi’s Stadium was 70,547 for a Copa America match between Mexico and Chile.

“The 49ers have been proud stewards of the Bay Area for decades, and we’ve seen time and time again how one of the most diverse regions in the world gets excited about major sporting events. The excitement and community spirit unique to the Bay Area has been aimed at football for generations, and goes back to the FIFA World Cup matches that the area hosted in 1994 and 1999, which were a huge success, “49ers President and Bay Area 2026 Chairman Al Guido said in a press release. “There is no doubt in my mind that the 2026 FIFA World Cup would inspire an even greater response, and we are honored to be at the forefront of Bay Area’s bid to host this exciting event that attracts the audience.”

A contingent of Bay Area youth soccer players and local soccer fans will also be at Levi’s Stadium to demonstrate to the FIFA delegation the region’s passion for the beautiful game. The region hosts some of the most competitive youth leagues in the country along with elite college football powerhouses like Stanford and Santa Clara University women’s teams.

Helping strengthen the Bay Area bid is neighboring PayPal Park in San Jose, home to the San Jose Earthquakes and a possible training ground for teams whose Bay Area hosts matches.

“The South Bay has a rich history of hosting international football and boasts the world-class venues needed to get the job done in 2026,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a prepared statement. “We also have the infrastructure and passion needed to capitalize on the economic boost that the event would bring to the area of ​​the long-term development of football.”

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