It’s official. Hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup have been awarded to the joint bid of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This is good news for all the potential host venues, but Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in an interview with Good Day Atlanta on Wednesday morning that Mercedes-Benz Stadium played a pivotal role in the bid.
“FIFA chose two cities to tour and chose New York and Atlanta earlier in the year. Atlanta was front and center of this bid. If you saw any of the footage of the 15-minute video that the United bid was allowed to show to the voters, half of it was Atlanta. We were able to demonstrate here that soccer has taken off in America. Atlanta United averages 53,000 in attendance, which ranks 15th in the entire world. This is our way of saying, ‘If we can do this in Atlanta, imagine what we can do in America with an eight year head start’. That was one of the factors that swayed the vote.”
FIFA has since published footage of the event, and here is the video that was shown at the meeting that heavily featured Atlanta.
Eales didn’t mince words when discussing the impact Atlanta United and the city’s history of hosting major events had on the bid selection committee.
”We’ve got Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the best stadium in the world. We’ve got a city that’s used to putting on big events like the Super Bowl, we’ve had the Olympics, and now we have Atlanta United which is showing that this is the biggest soccer city in America...the passion and energy is unlike anywhere else and I think that’s a factor that really impressed the FIFA technical committee. They came to the stadium, they watched a match, and realized that this is a place that absolutely gets soccer.”
The world comes to Atlanta in eight years. Get your calendars ready.