Baltimore and Washington D.C. have joined forces to bid on hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. (Photo by Fauzan Saari on

By Mark F. Gray,
Special to the AFRO

Charm City and the nation’s capital have joined forces in a joint bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

If successful, one of the world’s biggest sporting events could come to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. during the weekend of July 4, 2026.

Events D.C. and the Sports and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland announced they are combining proposals to be among the group of American, Canadian and Mexican cities offering up their venues to host United 2026, which will see all three nations stage the World Cup soccer tournament together. This will be the first time the World Cup will include 48 teams as it expands from the traditional 32.  It will also be the first World Cup since 2002 to be hosted by more than one country.

“We know that the Washington-Baltimore bid is a winning bid,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.   “When you bring all that energy to the greatest tournament in the world, across two fantastic American cities, that is going to be an unforgettable experience.”

Canada, Mexico and the United States are combining a joint bid to be a part of hosting the world’s largest sporting event in North America.  As part of the dual municipality pitch for the rights to stage a portion of United 2026, Baltimore would host the matches while D.C. would host a World Cup Fan Festival on the National Mall for the month-long tournament as America celebrates its 250th birthday on July 4, 2026.  

Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium would host a portion of the schedule of matches in the home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.  Both cities have reportedly already begun discussions on “merging the best that both bids had to offer” from security to transportation to deliver a better experience for fans and provide the region with a ‘lasting positive impact’.

The expectation is that it could bring over one million fans to the area and provide an enormous financial boost to the region’s tourism and hospitality industry.

FIFA, arguably the world’s most powerful sports governing body, is now entering the final phase of the bid process. According to their website the remaining U.S. and Mexican bidding venues, as well as those in Canada, will be visited by the end of November.  Many sports industry analysts feel that FIFA places importance on stadiums in its selection and this combined effort between D.C. and Baltimore might be a winning factor for the area’s regional bid. FIFA is expected to choose 10 or 11 U.S. cities as hosts.

“We look forward to having FIFA and its delegates in D.C. for meetings, practices, the biggest FIFA Fan Festival, and are confident that our region will exceed expectations in delivering an innovative, powerful, and fun fan experience,” said Max Brown, the D.C. 2026 Advisory Board’s Co-Chair.

The passion and exposure of the world’s most popular sports has captured its place in the nation’s capital with the success of D.C. United, Washington’s Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise which is one of the signature teams in America’s professional soccer league.

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