PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The stage is set. Philadelphia has been named one of the host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
A watch party was hosted at LOVE Park in Center City and soccer fans exploded in excitement when their city was named a World Cup location.
— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) June 16, 2022
“Yes, finally the realest fans in the world get to show off how truly great they are,” a fan said.
“It was so hype, it was like the best party ever. Everyone here in Philly is excited for it. People are walking by that aren’t even soccer fans, Union fans, and they are hype for it too,” a fan said.
Fans were a little nervous awaiting the announcement.
“I was sick to my stomach but I knew in my heart we had it,” one fan said.
Even Mayor Jim Kenney was a little on edge.
“I was wondering what, God forbid, we didn’t get it we’re going to do with all of these people out here and how we were going to get back to City Hall. But there’s been a time in my life I’ve been more relieved. That’s when Tom Brady took that hail Mary pass in Minnesota,” Kenney said, referencing the Eagles’ win in Super Bowl 52.
The matches aside, city officials say this bid is great for business and a major boost for the local economy.
And when 2026 comes …
“I am so pumped. This is going to be a historical moment for Philly, it’s going to be a historical moment for everybody here,” a fan said.
World Cup matches in Philadelphia will be played on the pitch at Lincoln Financial Field. The Linc offers pristine natural grass, which is ideal for world-class soccer stars and was a big part of the city’s pitch to FIFA.
It also has nearly 70,000 seats, a perfect location to hold thousands of soccer fans from around the globe.
Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie says the organization is “thrilled” to have the World Cup come to Philadelphia.
“We are proud to host the game’s highest level of competition in front of a global audience,” Lurie said. “The City of Philadelphia and Lincoln Financial Field are well-prepared to provide the international soccer community with an unforgettable experience in 2026.”
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) June 16, 2022
The 2026 FIFA World Cup will also be played in Canada and Mexico.
FIFA announced the 2026 host cities on Thursday: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Guadalajara, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Monterrey, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Your #FIFAWorldCup 2026 Host Cities:
🇺🇸New York / New Jersey
🇺🇸San Francisco Bay Area
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 16, 2022
CBS3’s Pat Gallen previously spoke to Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin about the city being selected to host the 2026 World Cup.
“I’ve heard little hints in different inside pieces that we’re in a good spot after maybe being an underdog in typical Philadelphia Union fashion to be selected for the 2026 World Cup, but if it does come to fruition, international people to come to, experience all the great things that we have here. All the culture, all the great passionate fan base that we have here. It will be something that would be truly special. It would make me proud as a Philadelphian selfishly and I think it has to be 100% that Philly’s involved in the World Cup,” Curtin said.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement calling it an “incredible win for Philadelphia.”
This is an incredible win for Philadelphia and sets the stage for an unprecedented year for our city in 2026. FIFA saw what we all know is true: Philadelphia is a welcoming, world-class city and we have the experience to deliver a fantastic experience for teams, fans, and sponsors alike. In the last five years, tremendous work has been put forth on behalf of this bid, especially as we navigated multi-year delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am immensely proud of the exceptional work that we presented to FIFA, and I am grateful to the many partners who came together to support this Bid, including the PHLCVB, which led the charge dating back to the United Bid in 2016-17 and the Philadelphia Eagles, who have made Lincoln Financial Field such a spectacular venue. I especially want to thank Ambassador David L. Cohen and Dan Hilferty who served as passionate Chairs for this Bid. Their commitment to the vitality and success of our city cannot be overstated and FIFA’s selection of Philadelphia as a Host City reflects the power of their civic leadership. For that, and much more, we owe them a debt of gratitude.
Now, it’s the waiting game for soccer fans around the globe. The summer of 2026 and the World Cup will be here before we know it.
THE WORLD IS COMING TO PHILLY IN 2026! pic.twitter.com/MzL1T16yPc
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) June 16, 2022
CBS3’s Kerri Corrado and Alyssa Adams contributed to this report.