Philadelphia - City of the Next FIFA World Cup?

Philadelphia is a city that has always shined brightly under the lights of an international stage, from the visiting Pope Francis to housing the Biden campaign, and even hosting the NFL Draft. Bright lights,diverse culture, an entire street filled with international flags flying proudly throughout the city, Philadelphia is a beacon for a world presence. 

At every turn, we have been the city that people can look to for our colorful culture - whether it’s the cheesesteaks, Broad Street, or the mural arts that decorates our city’s walls. And what may be the one thing that Philly has to offer, with such a strong passion and indignation, that other cities cannot match? That’s easy, sports!

Philadelphia is holding a bid among 17 different cities nation-wide, to host some of the 2026 FIFA World Cup games. A momentous event in soccer and sports, the city could have the opportunity to branch out with nine other cities on a global scale. The team committed to making this happen held a webinar event in early December, outlining the reasons as to why we should be FIFA’s gracious host.

“We are a world backdrop for democracy right now,” Lauren Swartz, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council in Philadelphia, said. “We have to reach out and look for new ways to connect with the rest of the world.” 

People in our city have found a love and devotion for soccer through these cultural connections. The Philadelphia Union Men’s Soccer team has developed a huge fanbase in the city, and even recently won the Supporter’s Shield. Like all of our teams, the fans in Philadelphia are exuberant. 

Philadelphia poses as a strong candidate for hosting the FIFA Cup in other ways. The city already generates a great deal of tourism, being the nation’s first capital and being a historic and cultural landmark; this of course will only continue during the city’s 250th anniversary in 2026. Philadelphia already stands to increase tourism exponentially that year, and hosting four or five World Cup games would more than double our tourism rates - which would be beneficial to small businesses around the city.

Philadelphia is home to thousands of immigrant families, all of whom have slowly blended their culture into our cities, weaving a vibrant tapestry of different cultures and heritages. 

“Heritage is about who you are, and in so many parts of the world, heritage and soccer are combined”, GPA’s Executive Director Zabeth Teelucksingh, said. “Not only just the rest of the world, but soccer is a staple to some heritage in Philadelphia.”

This is not just an event of soccer. This is an event of culture, passion, and a platform that could unite not only our residents, but other nations around the world. To learn more about what makes our city, the city to be in 2026, or to help our bid to host these games you can visit the PHL World Cup page. We can make our name known on the global arena, and we should jump at this incredible opportunity.

Article written by Samantha Stewart on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association