World Cup

Cincinnati World Cup host city bid continues

Cincinnati’s 2026 FIFA World Cup host-city bid took another step forward this week when local delegates presented their plans to FIFA and the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The delegates, including Ohio Lt. Gov. John Husted, delivered their presentation during a virtual chat. Travel restrictions prevented the initial presentation plans, which called for the delegation to meet in Dallas.

“Sports, unlike any other enterprise, are able to bring together people from all walks of life,” FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding said. “Boundaries and barriers fade in the face of sports and individuals find themselves UNITED in support of their teams. Through participation in the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Cincinnatians and the entire Midwest, become members of an ever-growing universal community and through soccer embrace the opportunity to celebrate their sport as global citizens.”

Representing Cincinnati’s Bid on the call were:

- Husted

- Berding

- Julie Calvert and Andy Conklin representing Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau

- Betsy Ross and Jackie Reau from Game Day Communications

- Bill Baker from MSA Design

Cincinnati is among the 17 U.S. cities vying to become a 2026 World Cup Host City. Ten of the 17 cities will be chosen to host the competition, which will include 48 teams in 80 matches.

The tournament will be played across North America in UNITED Bid, with games also in Mexico and Canada. The 2026 competition will be the first time the men’s World Cup returns to the U.S. since 1994.

“We feel the legacy of the World Cup in Cincinnati will be the growth of the sport among youth organizations in our area as well as the Midwest,” said Berding. “With FC Cincinnati galvanizing a passionate soccer fan base in the city, holding the World Cup here would be a tremendous boost to the sport, and to our region.”