CINCINNATI — A delegation of 24 FIFA officials will size up Cincinnati Friday as the city makes its bid for a 2026 World Cup.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted will meet with U.S. and international soccer officials, touring Paul Brown Stadium and training facilities in the area as the city vies to host some of the games in the men’s soccer championship.
Organizers of the bid said hosting a game could bring global attention to Cincinnati and have a big impact on the local economy — but just how much revenue could it bring?
Brendon Cull with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce said it could be “as much as $480 million.” Cull said the last time the U.S. hosted a World Cup game was in 1994.
“They had more than 3 million fans,” Cull said. “Tenants across each match, generally, is about 70,000 people, but it’s not just the 70,000 people who go to the matches — it’s people who come downtown to watch, I mean, it is a spectacle.”
Cull said the event would not only impact downtown Cincinnati, but the surrounding areas.
“It will be so much fun for people all over the entire region, and it’s not just Cincinnati, it’s Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana all coming together to really maximize this,” Cull said.
Research also shows hosting the World Cup is expensive. A study by Clemson University showed some past hosts put more money in than they received, though some of those areas had to build infrastructure to accommodate. Officials said Cincinnati is already equipped to host.
“This is a world class city already with so much great infrastructure,” Cull said. “We know how to do this. We hosted the All Star Game not too long ago, we know how to do this really well.”
Jeff Berding, President at FC Cincinnati, said they have already made investments in Paul Brown Stadium. The stadium’s seating capacity is more than 60,000 — making the city’s bid strong.
“The big investments have already been made,” Berding said. “The corporate community is coming in big time — the significant public investments have already been made.”
Cull said the World Cup could also bring about 40,000 jobs to the area.
“Literally billions of people [are] watching the World Cup, and to have that sense that beautiful Cincinnati skyline on TVs all over the world is a generational impact,” Cull said.