NRG Stadium was announced Thursday as one of 16 North American venues to host games in the prestigious international soccer tournament.
Houston’s selection completes a successful four-year journey by a bid committee that sold FIFA not only the structural advantages of NRG Stadium, but also the culture of one of the most diverse cities in the United States.
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Houston has hosted multiple Super Bowls and NCAA Men’s Final Fours, with one planned for next year.
Can it be called one of the venues of the legendary international football tournament FIFA Men’s World Cup?
The city’s bid committee for the 2026 World Cup is glued to the screens this hour as FIFA announces the 16 North American cities it has chosen to host tournament matches.
A total of 60 games with a starting field from 48 countries are planned for the “United 2026” World Cup, which will be hosted by three countries for the first time in the tournament’s history.
Houston could be one of 10 US cities to host games, probably five or six in total. Mexico and Canada will each have three venues.
FIFA cuts from a pool of 23 US, Mexican and Canadian cities. Aside from Houston, these cities include:
- Arlington, Texas
- East Rutherford, New Jersey
- Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
- Foxborough, Massachusetts
- Guadalajara, Mexico
- Inglewood, California
- Kansas City
- Mexico City
- Miami Gardens, Fla
- Monterrey, Mexico
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Pasadena, California
- Santa Clara, California
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Win or lose, the Houston bid committee is expected to debate selection at 6 p.m
The Houston committee chair is confident
The legacy is at stake. This will be a month-long tournament watched by billions of people around the world. If Houston is selected, the city would likely host the equivalent of up to six Super Bowls.
The city of Houston has been preparing for this since 2018, when FIFA awarded the World Cup to North America.
The city hopes that the facilities in and around NRG Stadium, together with the vibrancy of our community, will persuade FIFA to accept the bid.
“People have asked me if I don’t get enough sleep. The truth is that right now I’m sleeping really well at night knowing we’ve done everything in our power. We answered every call. We reacted to every test. We’re not currently missing any elements or falling short or weak in any area. It’s really been a great collective effort by our community to truly unite,” said Chris Canetti, president of the Houston World Cup bid committee.
Canetti said another benefit is NRG Stadium’s retractable roof, which means games are guaranteed to go on schedule regardless of summer heat or storms.
“In line with the previous stages of the FIFA World Cup 2026 selection process, each announcement is made in the best interests of football and taking into account the needs of all stakeholders involved, as we aim to lay the foundations for the future tournament to be successful in all three.” countries,” said Victor Montagliani, FIFA Vice-President and CONCACAF President.
Canetti said being a part of something like this would be huge for Houston.
“We don’t want it to be just football matches here and that’s the end of the story. We want to ensure that this event and other sporting events coming to Houston help make Houston a better place for its residents. So we believe that the World Cup, the most popular and prestigious sporting event in the world, will allow us to capture many opportunities in and around the market,” Canetti said.
Thursday’s announcement won’t reveal locations for specific games, but cities across the US will reportedly host starting in the quarterfinals.
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https://abc13.com/fifa-world-cup-2026-houston-host-bid-cities-chris-canetti/11965841/ 2026 FIFA World Cup Venues: NRG Stadium in Houston 1 of 16 venues to host matches