Nashville leaders hope to win 2026 FIFA World Cup bid, ‘ready’ to host soccer

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — This Thursday all eyes will be set on Nashville, when it comes announcing the winning bids for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation CEO Butch Spyridon said, “It’s the toughest bid we’ve ever tried to win.

To him, it’s important to think big.

“The pressure to succeed makes you a bit nervous.” When Spyridon is anxious, you know it’s big. “You have to be nervous. The demands are exponential tougher than anything we’ve ever been through, and we’ve been through some tough bids and tough proposals.”

Spyridon said if this bid is won, it will be bigger than the 2019 NFL Draft.

“The draft was broadcast in 28 countries. I don’t think there are 28 countries that wouldn’t have the World Cup,” he said, adding that the crowd size would depend on which games the city would get and how many.

Hosting the world renowned competition is a competition in itself. Nashville is one of 17 cities in the U.S. in the running, and only ten will be chosen to play host.

“We don’t win everything we swing at, but to make it into the final 17 cities for the U.S., its a pretty big statement to have the eyes of the soccer world on us.” Spyridon continued, “It elevates us in a different way, and we’ll continue to get games like we did with the U.S. World Cup qualifier. We’re on the map.”

Come Thursday, 23 members from FIFA will spend a day in Nashville touring Nissan Stadium and viewing potential Fan Fest sites downtown. Spyridon said this is their first visit ever.

They will also look at training facilities, including fields at Lipscomb University, Lipscomb Academy, Vanderbilt University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville SC Stadium, Brentwood Academy and Currey Ingram Academy.

“The best thing about Nashville is it sells itself,” Spyridon said. “We’ve always had to play above our weight, overcome the odds. It would be nice to do something at that level that says don’t doubt us anymore.”

Under the most recent plan for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the United States would host 60 of 80 matches, while Canada and Mexico would hold ten each.

Here are the potential U.S host cities for the 2026 World Cup: 

United States (10 to be selected)

  • Atlanta 
  • Baltimore 
  • Boston 
  • Cincinnati 
  • Dallas 
  • Denver 
  • Houston 
  • Kansas City
  • Los Angeles 
  • Miami 
  • Nashville  
  • New York/New Jersey  
  • Orlando 
  • Philadelphia   
  • San Francisco 
  • Seattle 
  • Washington, D.C. 

A decision should be made by quarter one of 2022.

News 2 is reporting on Nashville’s historic growth and the growing pains that come with it. READ MORE on Nashville 2021

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