Atlanta, Georgia was selected as one of the host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, soccer’s most prestigious international tournament. Atlanta was among twenty-two cities across Canada, Mexico, and the United States that submitted bids to host matches.  

The United States hosted the World Cup in 1994. AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas; Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey; Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and SoFi Stadium in Inglewood and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California will also host matches.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the city of Atlanta to continue to show the world what we have to offer,” said Arthur M. Blank, Owner and Chairman of The Blank Family of Businesses, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle and Kansas City, Missouri, among the 11 U.S. sites picked to host games at the 2026 World Cup, including Atlanta. Notably, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Nashville, Tennessee, and Orlando, Florida, were left out.

“Our stadium was built to host world-class events, and we would be honored to continue that tradition in 2026 with the World Cup,” Blank continued. “I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Atlanta World Cup Bid Committee, especially the Atlanta Sports Council, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and our AMBSE leadership team, for their diligent work over the past few years that has led us to today’s announcement.  There is still more work to be done, and I look forward to working with our public and private partners, FIFA and our local community to bring these spectacular global games to Atlanta.”

Securing the winning bid was a major boost for Blank, who insisted the new stadium be suited to host World Cup matches, as Mercedes-Benz Stadium possesses a field large enough to accommodate FIFA regulations. 

“We have the pleasure of celebrating Atlanta’s selection as a host city of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, because of our strong, bipartisan public-private partnerships and many who have been working for years to put Georgia on the map since we hosted the 1996 Olympics,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “This premiere event will have a positive impact on so many hardworking Georgians. Hotels will fill with guests from around the world; restaurants will provide visitors a taste of the South they will not soon forget; attractions across Georgia will welcome those seeking to experience all the Peach State has to offer; and in each interaction, people will see Georgia’s Southern hospitality on full display. The world will be watching as we meet this moment, and we’re proud of all the entities who worked so hard to get us to this point.”

​​Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, which hosted the 1970 and 1986 finals and will become the first stadium to host three World Cups, made the final cut along with Guadalajara’s Estadio Akron and Monterrey’s Estadio BBVA. Additionally, Toronto’s BMO Field and Vancouver, British Columbia’s B.C. Place were selected. 

The City of Atlanta once again is on the world stage. Recently, Mercedes-Benz Stadium hosted the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game, and Super Bowl LIII. Mercedes-Benz Stadium would have hosted the Final Four in 2020. However, college basketball’s biggest event was postponed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

“Atlanta is a soccer town, and we’re excited to bring the game’s best athletes to the world’s best city,” said Mayor Andre Dickens. “Atlanta has already been home to the Super Bowl and the Olympics, and through our strong collaboration with the State and our business community, we will welcome folks from all over the world to fill every seat in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2026.”

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...