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Baltimore In The Running As Potential 2026 World Cup Site

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- An announcement from the U.S Soccer Federation could put Baltimore in the running to host games of an upcoming World Cup.

The opportunity would put Baltimore on an international stage and pour in millions of dollars in tax revenue.

This week's announcement from the U.S. Soccer Federation was in conjunction with Mexico and Canada to jointly host the 2026 games and the Maryland Sports' executive director wasted no time putting Baltimore in the running to become a host city.

The international sport and it's games bring in billions of dollars and the city of Baltimore and M&T Bank Stadium want in on the action.

"Baltimore and M&T Bank Stadium are ready, willing and able to take on the task of hosting games during the World Cup," said Michael Frenz, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority.

He says the tax revenue for Baltimore would be in the tens of millions of dollars if the City could host games of the FIFA World Cup.

"You'd have teams coming in staying here a few days. You have people from all over the world coming in, spending money, staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and I think there would be a follow-on affect of future international soccer matches occurring here," Frenz said.

When it comes to Baltimore hosting an event of its magnitude, like the World Cup, it's huge. Not just for M&T Bank Stadium, but for other venues across the City.

"Because it's going to use staging areas at Oriole Park and Camden Yards, our colleges and universities and some of our parks and rec facilities across the region will be utilized for training sites," he said.

Right now, these are all hopes, as soccer federations of the U.S., Canada and Mexico decided to push for a tri-country bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Baltimore is not a stranger to large scale soccer events. In 2013, M&T Bank Stadium hosted the Gold Cup and in 2009, the match between AC Milan and Chelsea, it still holds the largest attendance for a sporting event at M&T Bank Stadium with more than 72,000 people.

"When it comes to the FIFA World Cup, that generates an audience of its own, both internationally and domestic. Therefore, finding the ability to fill the capacity of M&T Bank Stadium shouldn't be a challenge and it's something we look forward to doing," said Terry Hasseltine.

Any concern if Baltimore is a soccer town? Baltimore ranked #1 or #2 in viewer markets as it pertains to the overall viewership of both the men and women's World Cup games.

A decision on where Baltimore stands in hosting any of the games or if the U.S. or the tri- country bid is chosen as the 2026 World Cup host, will happen later in the summer.

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