The bid by Bay Area business leaders and the 49ers brass to bring some 2026 World Cup matches to Levi's Stadium has won out, and soccer fans across the state can cheer "olé."
The San Francisco and the Bay Area is officially one of 16 host cities to host matches in the 2026 FIFA World Cup tournament, with North America being the official host. As the SF Business Times reports, all three Mexican cities that put in bids — Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara — were selected, along with two Canadian cities that threw their hats in, Toronto and Vancouver. In the U.S., there will be matches split into three divisions across eleven cities, but it's not yet clear which cities will host knockout rounds or the final-final match.
The divisions are:
West: Vancouver, Seattle, Bay Area, Los Angeles and Guadalajara
Central: Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Monterrey and Mexico City
East: Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and New York/New Jersey
U.S. cities not selected include Washington D.C./Baltimore — and it's significant that neither the capital cities of Canada or the U.S. will host matches in 2026. As the Business Times notes, only in 1972 and in 2002 did the capital cities of a host country not get to host a World Cup match.
Nashville, Cincinnati, Orlando, and Denver also put in bids to hose game but were not selected.
With 60 matches set to be played in the U.S. — and ten each in Mexico and Canada — it means that each stadium will likely be host to at least four matches, if not five. The matches will be played between June 8 and July 3, 2026.
Calling the event a "huge win" for the city, Santa Clara Mayor Lisa M. Gillmor said in a release, “Not only are we getting a world-class soccer event for the public to enjoy, but these games will be a massive economic generator for our community."
As SFist reported earlier, the Bay Area last hosted World Cup matches in 1994, when the U.S. was last a World Cup host country.
Levi's, which seats 68,500 but can expand to 75,000, already played host to a major soccer tournament since it opened, the 2016 Copa América Centenario.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images