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Back in the Game: Boston Chosen as Host City for FIFA World Cup 2026

Boston wins bid for 2026 FIFA World Cup - The Bent Musket

We’re less than three years away from the FIFA World Cup 2026™, and as the Women’s World Cup is in full swing right now, we’ll soon see the media hype pick up for the men’s tournament as FIFA turns its attention to one of the crowning events of the soccer world. 

These events take years to plan as FIFA has to hash out all of the details with the various host cities, deciding which locations are capable of withstanding an influx of fans from all over the world. 

Details will begin to filter out at an ever-increasing pace as the opening date draws nearer, and we’ve already gotten some of the first of those hints.

Bringing it to Boston

This will be the biggest World Cup in the nearly century-long history of the event, with 16 host cities across North America (11 in the United States, three in Mexico, two in Canada) accommodating 48 teams and 104 matches, a 50 percent increase in teams from the last World Cup.

Boston provides an interesting logistical challenge as the games won’t actually take place in Boston: they’ll be at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, home of the New England Patriots of the NFL and the New England Revolution of MLS, the better part of an hour south of the city.

Gillette Stadium, New England Patriots football stadium - Stadiums of Pro  Football

A Look at Logistics

The good news is that Boston, Foxborough and FIFA have worked their way through this speed bump before as part of the 1994 World Cup hosted at the old Foxboro Stadium. 

While bringing hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world to Foxborough, a town of less than 20,000 people, sounds like an impossible task, you can bet that public transportation options like the Franklin/Foxboro commuter rail system from Boston (which had a daily ridership of less than 10,000 people as of October 2022) will be greatly expanded. 

The region has nearly three years to prepare, and their efforts will pay dividends with the influx of tourists and attention. 

Revolution president Brian Bilello addressed these concerns in a May press conference. “We’ve looked at how we’re going to do that,” Bilello said. “I think the balance that we have to understand is how many people are going to be taking public transit, how many people have cars. There’s going to be a lot of international guests that we’re going to need to get to the stadium. We have the rail line, which is great, but we’re thinking through, how do you do things with shuttling and other ways of getting them to the stadium. So over the next couple of years that’s one thing we’ll work on. FIFA has a transportation person, and we’ll have local people working on that. It’s a key component of our World Cup.”

From supporter to New England Revolution president: What drives Brian  Bilello | MLSSoccer.com

Hosting part of the FIFA World Cup 2026™ in Boston is expected to have a significant impact on the city’s economy. The tournament will attract millions of soccer fans from around the world, leading to a surge in tourism, increased consumer spending, and business opportunities for bettors using Massachusetts Sports Betting Sites.

The Boston Consulting Group (per their website, a “a global consulting firm that partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities”) estimates that Beantown will bring in roughly 450,000 visitors from around the world to take part in the World Cup festivities, visitors who will bring up to $500 million in revenue for the region: figures that could increase if Foxborough ends up hosting more than the six matches they already have on the schedule. 

More on the Horizon?

Along with the greater Boston area, Patriots and Revolution owner Robert Kraft stands to gain quite a bit from the host site selection. Understandably, he’s quite excited about the decision, and hinted in that same May press conference that the six matches Boston has on the schedule now could expand as FIFA continues to figure out the schedule. 

SBJ to honor Robert Kraft with Lifetime Achievement Award

“I would like to bet that maybe we’ll get more,” Kraft said, jokingly asking “Am I not supposed to say that?”

Perhaps he knows something we don’t yet. 

Kraft noted that the six games currently on the schedule could take place across the first two rounds of the tournament, the group and knockout stages. 

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